ON DANGEROUS GROUND.
EDITH STEWAET DEEWEY,
AUTHOB OF " A DEATH RING," " SWORN FOES," " BAPTISED
WITH A CURSE," "TWO FLOWERS," ETC., ETC.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
LONDON: F. V. WHITE & CO.,
31 SOUTHAMPTON STREET, STRAND, W.C.
18 8 3.
\_AU Rights reserved.]
F. V. WHITE & CO.'S
Crown Zvo^ cloth^ 3^. dd. each.
The following Volumes of the Series are now ready: —
MY SISTER THE ACTRESS. By Florence Marryat.
' " My Sister the Actress " is the best novel we have had the pleasure of
reading from the pen of Miss Marryat.' — yo/m Bull.
THE DEAN'S WIFE. By Mrs Eiloart.
i ' Any reader who wants a good story thoroughly well told cannot do better
! than read " The Dean's Wile." ' — John Bull.
j A BROKEN BLOSSOM. By Florence Marryat.
1 a really charming story, full of delicate pathos and quiet humour ;
' pleasant to read and pleasant to remember.' — John Bull.
I TWO MEN AND A MAID. By Harriett Jay.
1 ' Compared with the former works of the authoress of " The Queen of
i Connaught," this novel must be pronounced second to none.' — Graphic.
\ SWEETHEART AND WIFE. By Lady Constance
I 'The story from first to last is attractive, and cannot fail to command
; wide favour.' — [Whitehall Review.
\ PHYLLIDA. By Florence Marryat.
' '"Phyllida" is a novel of which the author may be justly proud.' —
I Morning Post.
j BARBARA'S WARNING. By 'the Author of ' Recom-
I mended to Mercy.'
COLSTON AND SON, TRINTEKS, EDINBURGH.
AN ODD ADVERTISEMENT,
THE MAN WHOSE WIFE SHE WAS,
C£) CHAPTER III.
V CHAPTER IV.
VERY TENDER HEARTED,
ON DANGEROUS GROUND,
) CHAPTER VL
A FURTHER INSIGHT,
A DRIVE, ....
it's no BUSINESS OF MINE,
A VERY STRANGE ACCIDENT, .
SISTER rose's words COME TRUE, . . 116
BEHOLD, A LITTLE CLOUD ARISETH NOW, LIKE
UNTO A man's hand, . . . 130
GIVING A DIAMOND, . . . . 143
SUNDAY MORNING, . . . . 151
RETURN HOME, . . . . 160
DR NEVILLE LAYS DOWN THE LAW, . . 172
READ THE RIDDLE NEAR HOME, . . 183
" NOUS AVONS CHANGE TOUT CELA," . 193
CHAPTER XYII I.
THE NEXT MORNING, . . . 207
SISTER ROSE GOES TO LUNA PARK, . . 216
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER, . . . 236
ON MNGEEOUS GROUND.
AN ODD ADVERTISEMENT.
HOUSE in a quiet street in the
west central district, a small
parlour, modestly furnished, and
a woman pacing to and fro its narrow
limits with a quick, restless step, to which
one glance at her face, with its lines of
care and suffering, gave a deeper, sadder
meaning than mere impatience of mood
or passing fretfulness at the perpetual
patter of the rain in the dreary street
VOL. I. A
2 An Odd Adve7^tisement.
outside — all the more dreary in the grow-
ing gloaming. Singularly incongruous and
out of place, too, she looked in the dingy
parlour, this superbly handsome woman,
rich in the majestic beauty of her five-and-
twenty years, perfect grace and ease in
every turn, every movement of the tall
slight form, in the carriage of the small
finely-posed head — the stamp of that blue
blood which only ages of birth and culture
can give and no gold can buy, thank
One action of hers told a story, for twice
in her restless walk she paused to look at
her left hand, on which a wedding-ring
flittered : and the second time struck it
almost passionately with her right, and
wrung them in mute anguish, then turned
sharply as with a slight tap the door
opened, and a little round, good-natured
looking body came in with some journal
in her hand.
" Good morning, ma'am ; the boy's
An Odd Advertisement. 3
brought your AthencBum, and I hope
there'll be something in it for you this
time — not had no success, I suppose, my
dear ? "
Mrs May's beautiful tenant shook her
" No, Mrs May, it's all against me — this
being married — they all draw back when
it comes to that miserable fact ; it is no
use to tell them that I have a legal separa-
tion, and that Mr Albany cannot molest
me, or refer them to my lawyers in proof
of that and a reference for myself ; and you
know, Mrs May, that all the two years I
have been your tenant — poor Professor
Merton's secretary — I have never even
known where my husband was, and do
" It's a cruel thing, ma'am, I do say ! "
said the little landlady indignantly, " and
you got your marriage lines and all, and
so clever and handsome too, and such a
one to work too, and the poor dear blind
4 An Odd Advertisement.
professor dead three months, and you can't
get no work 1 It's a right down cruel
shame, Mrs Albany ! "
The other stood looking down on her
for a moment, and then said with a heavy
*' Everything is so fearfully overcrowded
now-a-days, secretaryships are especially
close, and for teaching, as I say, ladies (and
I don't blame them) are naturally shy of a
woman, the more so if she has good looks,
who is a separated wife. I tell you plainly,
Mrs May, that, as things are now with me,
I shall not be able to stop on here long, for
I will starve before I owe — especially to a
hard-working woman like yourself."
" Now, Mrs Albany, I can't a-bear such
words ! " exclaimed the landlady ; " some-
thing must turn up soon ! Why, there
might be something in that there very
paper ! Surely every one won't mind the
marriage. I wish you was a widow out-
right, I do ! "
An Odd Advertisement. 5
So perhaps in her secret heart did Gab-
tielle Albany, but she only took up the
AthencBum listlessly enough, and ran her
eyes down the first advertisement columns.
The next moment she started, with a half
"What a strange advertisement! Listen,
Mrs May. ' Wanted immediately, an accom-
plished woman, who will act as companion
to a young lady, and also as secretary, and
to be generally useful to a semi-invalicT.
Applicant must be a married woman. High-
est references exchanged. Address,' etc."
" Why, ma'am ! " cried out the little
May excitedly, " that's just cut out for
you ; did you ever now ! You answer it,
and my son shall post it, quick."
" Thank you, dear Mrs May ; but there
is no such desperate hurry, as, being after
six, my answer could not reach till to-
morrow morning. The address is, ' G. L.,
Great Western Hotel.' "
" Well, ma'am, you ring when your letter
6 An Odd Advertisement.
is ready," said Mrs May, nodding emphati-
cally, "and it shall go ;" and off she trotted
like a good-natured little barrel on legs,
while Mrs Albany opened her desk, not,
however, with any expectation of even a
reply ; she had suffered and knocked about
the world too much to expect anything.
She wrote full particulars so far as business
necessity required, and named her lawyers
and the widow of her late employer as
references, and when her letter had gone
^ there was nothing to be done but wait ;
indeed, she put the whole matter from her
mind as much as possible, though now and
then she wondered why the applicant must
be married. Was the "semi-invalid" of the
male persuasion ? Perhaps possibly some
boy of eighteen, whose anxious mamma
was afraid of his falling in love ?
" Bah ! what matters it ? " she muttered
bitterly ; " I would give this right hand to
undo that one fatal, miserable mistake of
nine years ago."
An Odd Advertisement. 7
Nine years ! Had she been then only
a child of sixteen when the shackles of a
cruelly disastrous marriage were laid upon
her ? Whose had the fault been ? At whose
door lay the wrong ? Surely, with those
who had left her year after year, a poor
little neglected thing, in a dreary school
that was simply a cold, harsh, loveless
prison house, to the wild, free, high spirit
it could not break or tame, but only mad-
den into desperate recklessness ; and sO,
when handsome, wicked Leicester Albany
crossed her path, and whispered of his love,
and of freedom with him in foreign lands,
she, mere child of just sixteen, saw only
the escape, and fled with him, bound once
and for all, wedded for life before she
knew or dreamed w^hat heavy chains she
had put upon herself.
Saturday passed without any answer ; all
Sunday, of course ; but on Monday morn-
ing came a letter, in a regular lady's hand.
" Lady Glen-Luna presents her compli-
8 An Odd Advertisement,
ments to Mrs Albany, and would like to
see her at eleven o'clock precisely. Great
And exactly at eleven Gabrielle Albany
was at the hotel, where a waiter at once con-
ducted her to a private room and left her.
But she had not long to wait, when the
door again opened and admitted, not a tall,
stately dame, but the smallest, daintiest,
prettiest of little matrons, whose rounded
form, piquant face, and glossy brown hair
plight pass for anything between thirty-five
and forty, and young for that. It was not till
such rare moments in which you could catch
the face in absolute repose that it might
strike a close observer that the smiling lips
could settle thin and sinister, the eyes,
without their sparkle, look that cold, cruel
grey whose glint is hard as steel, pitiless as
the nether millstone. Something of its
glimpse Gabrielle caught as she entered,
in the second before she spoke, rather
An Odd Advertisement, 9
** Mrs Leicester Albany, I presume. Pray,
be seated again, for really," with a ringing
little laugh, " you make me feel like church
and steeple ; pardon my rudeness ; but you
do, indeed. I always think I must look
absurd beside you tall people."
It was impossible to help smiling, and
Gabrielle put up her handkerchief, apolo-
" Oh, don't apologise, Mrs Albany ; by-
the-bye, didn't you think the advertisement
a very funny one ? "
" Say original, madam," corrected the
woman of the world with a slight bow,
" and we shall better name it."
" Ha ! ha ! well, original, then ; my hus-
band and I drew it up, for you see we
required a rather exceptional thing ; a
widow wouldn't do, we don't like widows,
and a spinster wouldn't do a bit, because
I want a lady who can chaperon my
daughter Jessie when I cannot ; and so
that only left us to find, if possible, some
I o An Odd A dve rtise 7nent,
married woman whose husband was per-
haps in India, or who, for other considera-
tions, you see, would part company, then
your answer came most apropos ^
The lady paused for breath ; Mrs Albany's
low, rich voice, so soft and mellow, came
quite as a relief after those quick, high-
" Who then, madam, is the invalid of
whom you spoke ? "
" Well, he is not really an invalid at all,"
apswered Lady Glen-Luna, " but he might
be, dear boy, and it is really more on his
account we are making this addition to our
household, as he requires a secretary, com-
panion, possibly a nurse — you understand —
some one who will be kind and useful gener-
ally. He is Sir Arthur's son — only son by
his first wife — only I call him my boy, you
see, because I'm so fond of him, such a fine
young fellow ; and a year and a-half ago,
on returning from the Continent with a
friend, there was one of those horrible
An Odd Advertiseme7it. i r
railway accidents, and, in saving a man
who was in the same carriage, my darling
boy was seriously iujured by something
falling across his spine, I believe ; but all
the doctors haven't got at the exact mis-
chief yet, though they all say he will
recover in time, and certainly he is better,
for he could not for a twelvemonth even
stand, and now he can just for a few
minutes. And being a married woman
yourself, Mrs Albany, you would not mind
being so much alone with my poor Douglas,
going out with him, and all that."
" On the contrary. Lady Glen-Luna, I
should only be glad if I can in any way
lighten or alleviate a misfortune doubly
terrible to a young and active man."
" Thank you ; well, then, Mrs Albany, it
rests with you to accept or refuse this situa-
tion, at one hundred pounds a year and all
travelling expenses. I went myself on
Saturday to your references, and am per-
fectly satisfied, and so were your lawyers."
12 An Odd Advertisement.
Gabrielle half smiled.
" If so, madam, I am. How soon do you
wish me to join you, or follow ?"
" I shall return to Luna Park at once ;
here is the full direction, and if you could
follow me in a week — "
" In two days if you like, madam."
" Oh no, no, that would be hard on you ;
say Thursday, by the train leaving Pad-
dington at twelve, and the carriage shall
'A few more details were settled, and the
two women parted, the younger certainly
not very favourably impressed by the elder,
and especially not impressed by a belief in
her great affection for her stepson, Douglas
THE MAN WHOSE WIFE SHE WAS.
ABRIELLE ALBANY started
homewards as she had come, by-
train, glad that she had some
good news to carry back to kind little
As she came up out of Portland Road
Station, and struck southwards, she passed
quickly across the head of a hansom just as
it drew up at the station, and its occupant
sprang out. She neither saw him nor turned,
but the gentleman, as he paid the cabman,
caught a full view of her as she crossed the
road, and with a start and muttered " By
Heaven ! what luck !" swung round sharply
14 The Man Whose Wife She was.
and followed her at a sufficient distance to
keep her in view amongst the people ; the
tall, slight figure, with its free easy grace of
movement, was easily distinguished amongst
hundreds. He would have known it amongst
thousands, this handsome dashing-looking
man, whose short thick beard and moustache
almost entirely concealed his mouth, that
feature on which of all others the worst pas-
sions and a dissolute life soonest and most
indelibly set their stamp.
His chase was not a long one, for she
walked fast without seeming to do so, and,
presently turning up a quiet by street,
paused at a door, and drew out a latch-key.
Now was his time ; he strode forward up
the steps and laid his hand heavily on her
shoulder. In the moment that she heard
the steps behind her she turned and met
the free, bold gaze of those black eyes which
is in itself an insult to a woman, and the
passionate blood flushed to her brow, leav-
ing her again deadly pale.
The Man Whose Wife She was. 1 5
" Leicester Albany ! "
Only those two words under her breath ;
neither cry nor start outwardly.
" Ay, you didn't expect to see me, I
guess, did you ? " said the man coolly.
" I've been trying to €nd you out for a
month past. I must speak to you, my dear,
in there, unless you prefer passers by for
She looked full in his face, and said, with
a cool deliberate scorn that made even hitn
" I could have hated you were it not that
I despise you utterly ; I could curse the
hour you ever saw me, but that the mere
thought of such a noisome reptile as you
is contamination. Follow me — I will give
you ten minutes."
She opened the door wide, and pointing
to the parlour, drew back for him to pass
on, followed, and carefully closed the door.
For a minute those two stood facing each
other in silence within arpa's-length, she
1 6 The Man Whose Wife She was.
steadily, unflinchingly, though the haughty
blood mounted slowly again under the bold
gaze of free admiration that came once
more into Leicester Albany's eyes.
" By the Lord ! " he said, "■ your are
handsomer than ever, Gabrielle, and after
two years' separation your beauty comes
back quite fresh. I could almost play the
r6le of lover again. One touch, ma belle,
for auld langsyne, one kiss of those sweet
warm lips, though you are my wife — so."
The movement was even quicker than
the word, for, with it on his lips, he
threw his arms suddenly around her slight
form, drew her forcibly to his breast, and
stooped to take the kiss to which he had
long lost all right. But the false lips never
touched hers, for she started from him,
with a low cry of horror, flinging him ofi"
with a strength that made him even stagger.
" Stand there ! " she said, with stern and
haughty passion ; " if there is by chance one
remnant of m^inhood left in you save its
The Man whose Wife she was, 1 7
outward form. Your wife ! — yes, God help
me ! — so I am, because the Church Catholic,
which made me so, rightly makes the bond
indissoluble ; but from the hour I was
forced to leave you, we are married only in
name. Your presence, your touch, your
kiss are more polluting, more degrading to
me than that of another man, who at least
would not have to see every vow taken at the
altar lying in a shattered mass between us.
Love, faith, cherish — those were your vows,"
and how did you keep them during all the
long, heartbreaking seven years I lived with
you, until, merciful Heaven I I was no
longer safe with you, my husband? For
* love ' you gave only the brief, ignoble pas-
sion of a few months, such as you gave to
any other mistress of the passing hour.
For * faith ^ you wrote * infidelity,' for
* cherish ' and * honour ' you flung me, in
all my youth, amongst your roue com-
panions for your own base ends, hurled me
into every temptation ; sold your honour
VOL. I. B
1 8 The Man whose Wife she was.
and mine at last to the highest bidder in
that wild place ; and when I threw myself
on your breast, and clung to you in frantic
terror for protection, only laughed at his
insult as a jest, flinging me oiF; and that
night, when you had staked and lost all else,
gambled me — your wife — away for a few-
thousands to the man who had won your
gold ! I shot him down like a dog, in self-
defence, and escaped through untold suffer-
ing and danger, but none, I call Heaven to
wijbness, so deadly as the awful danger in
which I had stood at my husband's side,
and from my husband's hand ! This creep-
ing, despicable reptile, whom the very
beasts of the field and the fowls of the air
might put to shame."
This outraged woman's scathing, superb
scorn was terrible, and the man shrank, and
for a moment almost cowered, before it, as
if he were lacerated by a hundred scorpions.
Dastard like, he took refuge in a fierce sneer,
when he could face her again.
The Man whose Wife she was. 1 9
'' Then, since the chain that binds you
still to Leicester Albany sits so heavily, and
perhaps you have good reasons to wish for
freedom, eh ? — why did you not do the
thing thoroughly while you were flying to
law, forsooth ? " In the mere sound of
his own voice he was regaining his bold
effrontery once more. " You best knew
how very easily you could have got a
divorce, — and — could — now ! " How he
watched her, as the w^ords dropped slowly
from his evil lips ! "It is not too late.
I haven't been a saint after, any more than
I was before, you fled from my protection.
Appeal to the law again, ma belle. I shall
not stand in the way ; it may go by default,
as the judicial separation did. You had it
all your own way then, and may again for
" Now, I see why you have been trying
to find me this month past," said Gabrielle
coolly, and fixing her dark eyes steadily on
his face. " Your whole appearance plainly
20 The Man whose Wife she was,
tells me that at present you have plenty of
money at command. Homburg and Monaco
have been propitious. You are a gentleman
so far as birth, education, society manners
go ; in nothing else. You are still hand-
some, and certainly, even at five-and-thirty,
do not look the dissolute roue you are ; per-
haps because you never drank ; that would
have soon disordered your hand — vHest ce
pas f With all this, you might, you think
(correct me if I make any error in my state-
ment) easily make some good match, an
heiress perhaps, or a rich widow, if — ah,
that obstinate little word ! — if it were not
for the simple obstacle of this marriage, "
touching her wedding ring. " Bigamy is
such an ugly word, isn't it ? If the wife
should chance to hear of the affair — so
vulgar too, and ridiculous for dashing
Leicester Albany ! You thought it would
be far better and safer to first rid yourself
of this obnoxious marriage and wife, who,
despite all your kindly efforts, would not
The Man whose Wife she was. 2 1
be driven to exchange your * protection ' for
that of another man. As that so signally
failed, and as your own conduct was so
black that no charge of wrong against her
could have stood its ground, even if true,
the only next move possible was to try and
get the wife to avail herself of your miserable
cruelty and unfaithfulness."
" In the devil's name, then, do it, and
free us both ! " Albany broke in, with a
fierce passion, before which most women
would have quailed ; but her firm lips never
quivered, the delicate hand resting on the
chair-back near her never shook a hair's-
breadth, though her manner changed.
" If," she said, bending forwards, "I be-
lieved in this monstrous iniquity, which is
now a living disgrace to England, this
modern pest-house which helps to make
such men as you, and such women as you
would have made me, if it were really
possible for man to break what God
made, for any law of man to put asunder
2 2 The Man whose Wife she was.
»iwhat God joined together, and only God
can loose by death — if only one word of
mine coald set you free to wed again, I
would not speak it, because I would not
put it into your power to wreck another
young life as you have mine — perhaps to
drive another, weaker mentally and physi-
cally than I am, into the sin from which
I escaped by almost a miracle. For myself,
you have taught me so terribly what a
hell on earth marriage may be, that I have
no wish to try it again, were I free ten
times. As far as you are concerned, the
law has done for me all that I want ; it
has absolutely freed me from you, save in
the mere fact of bearing your name, and
being (literally only in name) your wedded
wife. You are even liable at this moment,
if I choose it, to arrest for contempt of
court for forcing yourself upon me here.
Saving that one unbreakable link of mar-
riage, I have severed every tie, destroyed
every vestige, every letter, or writing, or
The Man whose Wife she was, 23
likeness that would recall your existence
A sudden gleam leaped into his black
eyes, but he only said, with a sneer, —
" Then you had better drop my name
since you so despise its owner ; and we
should at least be strangers if ever or
wherever we might meet."
She looked straight into his eyes, and
said steadily, deliberately, —
" I will NOT. I am your wife ; and .1
warn you that whatever .evil scheme you
form I will foil you. Go ; the ten minutes
are more than spent."
She flung the door wide, and stepped
back ; gathering her robe aside, stood mo-
tionless until the street door clanged behind
him, and then — then threw herself on the
couch with a terrible burst of agony, as God
send few indeed may know.
But Leicester Albany, even in all his
rage and disappointed fury, laughed to him-
self as he strode away. No one had seen
24 The Man whose Wife she was,
him there, and she had destroyed every-
thing that could identify him. It was only
her word against his !
What was the desperate scheme that
had flashed into his mind when that fatal
admission was made by his unfortunate
T was with a heavy heart after
all, and no great hopes for the
future, that Gabrielle Albany
parted from good Mrs May, and started
for this somewhat odd situation, and cer-
tainly to her, in many respects, quite new
experience. Fortunately it was one of
those lovely days which make everything,
physical and mental, wear its brightest
aspect ; and it soon had its effect on a
mind and temperament singularly strong,
finely balanced, and elastic and impression-
able indeed as a Southern's.
The railway journey took up full two
26 Douglas Glen- Luna
hours, which brought her into the quiet little
station of Doring between two and three
o'clock — a pretty little toy-like station, with
white railings fencing it from the high road
so exactly like the sheepfolds of a child's
farmyard, that you almost looked for the
inevitable brown - spotted cow, feeding
eternally, and the brown Dobbin, and
the yellow cat sitting on her tail, and
nearly as big as horse and kine. Beyond
that the silver river glinted and rippled,
with glimpses of rich wooding and hill and
Did the river flow past Luna Park ? the
traveller wondered, as she stepped on to the
platform, and gave the provincial- speaking
porter the description of her luggage. But
she had no further trouble on that point ;
for before it was well out on the platform,
a man-servant, in a handsome livery of
blue and silver, came out from the station,
glanced round, and came straight up to her
with a respectful salute.
Douglas Glen- Luna. 27
" I beg pardon, madam ; but are you the
lady we are expecting at the hall ? "
" My destination is Luna Park, certainly,"
answered Gabrielle, smiling, " and my name
is Albany — Mrs Leicester Albany."
" That is right, then, madam. I have
the waggonette waiting, and will see your
luggage safely in it, if you would kindly sit
down a minute."
" Thank you."
The man touched his hat again, and wei>t
off to the porter, who, of course, knew him
well enough ; and Mrs Albany, giving up
her ticket, passed outside, where stood a
well-appointed waggonette and pair.
A few minutes more and they drove off,
the servant remarking that they should
soon reach the park gates. In fact, getting
to Doring high road, the man took a turn-
ing which led straight on about a quarter of
a mile up to some very handsome iron
gates, with a pretty lodge within. Passing
through these gates, the carriage drove on
28 Douglas Glen- Luna,
through a stately park, and presently came
in view of a noble old hall, with a sweep of
terrace facing, as Gabrielle now saw, the
river, which flowed at the bottom of the
grounds, and lawns surrounding the man-
sion. The avenue of trees up which the
carriage had come, however, led to the
grand entrance round to the west side of
the building, and there the servant drew up,
and assisted Gabrielle to alight, as soon as
the peal he gave the bell brought a footman
to the door; then drove away with her
luggage to another entrance, whilst she was
shown across the wide and magnificent hall,
along a corridor, and into what looked like
a breakfast or morning room.
In a few moments there was a rustle of
silk outside, a bright, clear, if somewhat
metallic, voice she knew, saying to some
" Yes, of course ; up to her rooms, and
send my maid here," and Lady Glen-Luna
Douglas Glen- Luna. 29
** I'm glad to see you again," she ex-
claimed, in her pretty, effusive fashion, which
most people thought so charming. " I hope
you have had a pleasant journey, Mrs Al-
bany ; if, indeed, such a tiresome thing as
a railway journey can ever be pleasant."
" I generally manage to beguile the long-
est journey, Lady Glen-Luna," answered
Gabrielle, amused, if not more prepossessed
than at first, at her little ladyship. "I am,
you see, so used to travelling in all sorts of
odd ways and places, that nothing comes
amiss to me."
" Why, that is just like my dear boy 1 "
cried the little lady, delightedly ; " he is
just such a cosmopolitan. Oh ! you and
he will get on capitally, Fm sure ! Your
rooms are in the west wing, near his, for,"
laughingly, "you belong to his suite, you
must understand, not to the general house-
hold. Oh ! you hold a position of import-
ance ; you are principally Douglas's secretary.
Jessie can only have a little bit of you when
30 Douglas Glen- Luna,
her brother chooses to spare you. Here
comes my maid Powell ; she will show you
your rooms, dear Mrs Albany, and do any-
thing you wish for you ; so ta-ta for an
Mrs Albany's bent head and curved lips
thanked her with the most graceful courtesy ;
Mrs Albany's inward cynical comment was —
" I wonder what all this means ! It glitters
a little too much to be all real gold ! "
The thought, the distrust, the quick in-
sensible suspicion of false coin somewhere
might perhaps be a little cynical, the out-
come even of a nature slightly seared by
the bitterness of its w^orldly experience ;
but, for all that, the subtle impression of
insincerity had taken hold, and would not
be shaken off. It had no shape ; it was
" without form and void ; " but it had
struck root, like the mustard seed, which is
the smallest of seeds, and would grow day
by day into a great tree.
She followed Powell along corridors and
Douglas Glen- Luna. 31
galleries, and up this staircase and down that
— all familiar enough to her later — until
they emerged into a fine wide hall on the
ground floor, opening to the grounds by a
double door, with a lift to the floor above,
and a wide, shallow stone staircase, also
leading to the gallery which ran round the
'' Now, madam, we are in the west wing,^'
said Powell, ascending the staircase to the
first floor, and passing on to a stately cor^
ridor ; "all our Mr Douglas's suite of rooms
are here, in the left, facing the south, you
see, ma'am, and the river ; and your apart-
ments are on the same corridor, near the
end, because, as my lady said, you belong to
Which, in the eyes of the dependents of
the house, was evidently a great feather in
the cap of any so greatly honoured an
The maid, as she spoke, opened a door and
ushered the new inmate of the west wing
32 Douglas Glen-Luna,
into a spacious and luxuriously-furnished
sitting-room, from which an inner door
admitted them to a large, elegantly-ap-
pointed bed-chamber, where Gabrielle found
that her luggage had preceded her, and a
dainty tray with refreshments and tea
awaited her. Powell placed an easy-chair
at the little table, and poured out a cup of
tea, remarking that she was sure Mrs Al-
bany must be quite faint, and as dinner was
not till seven, she hoped she would eat.
Could she unpack anything ? What would
she wear ?
"Thank you, Powell." She did not
know how her own beauty and winning
voice and manner had won their way al-
ready. ** All I want for to-day is in that
black trunk, and this is the key; and I
ghall take but little time dressing, as you
see my hair is all curly by nature, only on
to my shoulder, so that I really need not
trouble you further."
'* Indeed, madam, it is no trouble, but a
Douglas Glen- Luna, 33
pleasure, to wait on you," answered Powell,
busy over the black trunk, from whicb she
drew first and foremost an elegant dress of
rich black satin, trimmed with crimson. No
doubt, in the process of dressing, Gabrielle
could have learned the whole history and
doings of the family, from A to ZJ; but
she had no inclination to hear the talk or
gossip of the servants' hall, and only asked
a few questions about the neighbourhood,
the locale of the river, — of course there were*
boats, and so on ; and, by the time she was
ready for introduction to such members of
the family as were indoors, the hour had
elapsed, and a tap at the door, and Lady
Glen-Luna's chirrupy metallic voice asked, —
" Are you ready ? May I come in ?
Yes ? " as Powell opened the door.
" Ah, pardon me, my dear Mrs Albany,
I never can stand on ceremony, you'll find,
but how exquisite you look in that sweet
dress ! So becoming to your style. I hope
you like your rooms, and the piano. Well,
34 Douglas Glen-Luna,
as neither Jessie or Sir Arthur are in from
riding yet, shall we go to see my poor boy ?
I daresay he'll like to see his new secretary."
And, sooth to say, Gabrielle Albany had a
great longing to see this unfortunate lad,
for whom her heart ached. There are per-
haps few things that touch a woman so in-
stantly and deeply as to see a young and
vigorous man stricken down in his richest
promise. There is no surer appeal to a
true woman's sympathy or heart, than to be
thrown helpless on her care.
" I want to catch him unawares before
we are seen," whispered Lady Glen-Luna
merrily, as she led the way back along the
thickly-carpeted corridor. " The anteroom
door was open just now, and by the scent
of flowers I am sure the inner , one is wide
open, as well as both the windows.
Hush ! "
The little lady was right, and, as they
paused beside the anteroom before the wide
open inner door, Gabrielle had before her
Douglas Glen- Luna, 35
for a few minutes a vision, beautiful indeed
to the artist's eyes, but ah, me, how painful
to the woman's !
A vista of sunlight, and soft glowing
colours of carpet and flowing silken dra-
peries, and masses of flowers which flung
their rich perfume over the whole luxurious
apartment, colour and exquisite statuettes,
and pictures, all reflected back and again
in costly mirrors. All this the quick eye
took in, revelling in the wealth of artistic
beauty, noted too, the glimpse of a grand
piano, and the light and elegant wheeled
chair, that told its own sad tale, and turned
with a throb of intense pain on the one
living being within that room. There, right
in one of the wide open bay windows, on a low
couch, amongst a mass of crimson cushions,
lay, not a lad's, but a man's tall slight form,
motionless, as if both face and form had
been those of a beautiful marble statue fresh
from the sculptor's chisel ; the attitude,
perfect in its easy grace, but not one of
36 Douglas Glen- Luna,
repose. The last movement had too evL-
dently been one of restless weariness — one
arm flung back above the fine head, the
slender hand almost buried in the rich
masses of curling burnished locks that lay
-on the silken cushions, the head itself tossed
back and slightly aside, with the face quite
upturned and almost deathly pale, despite
the light that fell full on its delicate and
** Douglas," said Lady Glen -Luna advanc-
ing, and at the sound he started, lifted him-
self abruptly on one arm, and turned on the
visitors a pair of dark magnificent grey eyes,
heavily fringed by very long silky lashes,
and how instantly the whole mobile face
changed as that glance rested on the beauti-
"A thousand pardons, Adeline; I thought
I was still alone."
A delicate accent, uttered by the softest,
most melodious tones, a little languid, per-
aps, with that subtle pathos which almost
Douglas Glen- Luna, 37
invariably underlies a very musical voice, and
gives it, perhaps, half its power and charm.
" I saw the doors all open, dear, so I
thought I might dispense with ceremony,
and at once introduce to you your new secre-
tary and companion, Mrs Leicester Albany."
"It is a pleasure to which I have looked
forward all this week," said Douglas Glen-
Luna, holding out his hand, and, as hers
lay for a moment in that warm, firm clasp,
oddly and suddenly the chance choice of
expression of the lady's maid flashed vividly
before Gabrielle's memory, —
" Your apartments are in the same corri-
dor, because you belong to Mr Douglas."
" I must try not to disappoint your
expectations then, Mr Glen-Luna," she
said in her gentle way.
" Nay, I hope I shall not tax your powers
too far ! " Douglas answered, with a smile
that lighted the handsome face like sun-
shine. " I am afraid that the helle-mere
has been telling some awful tales of my
38 Douglas Glen- Luna.
severity and exacting ways." He stretched
out his arm as he spoke, and drew up a
low chair. " You are standing, and as
I see my little helle-mere is already pre-
paring to leave us to make friends as best
we may — Must you really go so soon,
Adeline ? " he broke off.
" My dearest boy, really ! don't you see
I am not even dressed for dinner yet ; and
so ta-ta for the present."
The young man just touched his softly
moustached lips to the white jewelled
fingers she extended, and, as she tripped
away, turned again to his new companion,
with, she fancied, something of relief.
" Well, then, Mrs Albany, since you are
to be mainly domiciled in these rooms, in
charge of such a worthless being as myself,
I must e'en do my best to make you feel
quite at home here, or" — with a quiet,
earnest look of the dark grey eyes — " may
I say to make you feel this your home ? "
Home ! a strange word to the beautiful
Douglas Glen- Luna. 39
woman he addressed, a dream of the un-
known, an horizon, a myth, never once in
all her life a reality ; child and maiden,
wedded wife, and worse than widowed, she
had never known a home.
" Thank you," she said in a low voice, that
despite herself would quiver a little ; " I am
sure it will be my own fault if it is not so."
He shook his curly head slightly, and lay
back quite silent for a few minutes ; then
he said, without looking at her, —
" Perhaps you will find me far more
troublesome than you imagine, or at all bar-
gained for. They told you at first that it
was half for Jessie you were engaged, but now
you see it is really entirely for my menage^
my behest — I, who never was patient — you
will weary of such a restless, helpless — "
Gabrielle's hand touched his, arresting
the bitter, impulsive words.
" Forgive me if I pain you, but I am
a woman, and just because you are helpless
and dependent you will never weary me ;
40 Douglas Glen- Luna,
nothing will be a trouble or too hard that
can lighten your burthen, but only my
deepest pleasure. I know to the full what
I am saying, and remember I am no inex-
perienced girl of sixteen, speaking without
book, but a woman of five-and-twenty,
whose whole life has been one of bitter
trouble, and harsh, stern, dark experience.
I say no more to you than I did to dear,
blind, old Professor Merton, whom I lately
served, and he was more helplessly de-
pendent on others than, in God's mercy,
I hope you will ever be. I have suffered
so much, that suffering appeals to me
beyond all else, in whatever form it comes
Noble words of a noble heart, and Douglas
covered his eyes for a moment, too deeply
touched to utter more than a low, unsteady
" Thank you," too sharply struck by the
utter contrast between this stranger and his
own flesh and blood to speak. They had
left him always to suffer alone ; this true
Douglas Glen- Luna, 41
woman clung to him for that very suffering's
sake and something of what held him silent
Gabrielle Albany read even then. But in
a few minutes Douglas dropped his hand,
and turned round once more with that
sweet, bright smile of his.
" And now we understand each other,
Mrs Albany ; and to-morrow, may I hope
from this hour, will date for both of us a
brighter life ? I know it will for me. Do
you wonder why I chose this floor for my
suite of rooms instead of those below ? "
" Because," she answered at once, point-
ing out of the window, " here you get the
full effect of that beautiful view mapped
out ; below you would feel more shut in."
** Ay, you take it exactly ; and, besides,
I hate the rooms below these. They were
the schoolrooms and playgrounds, and all
that ; they are not used now unless, per-
haps, they have some young fry at Christ-
mas. Nobody inhabits this wing now but
me and mine ; all the sleeping apartments
42 Douglas Glen- Luna,
in use are quite away from us. Myself and
Harford — my man — and now yourself, are
the only people who sleep in this west wing
— unless there are many guests, and then a
few of the guest - chambers are ' requisi-
tioned ; ' so my father had that lift made
in the hall, which easily takes my wheel-
chair down, and all my apartments thrown
en suite. Look — behind that curtain is the
door (all wide for my chair or sofa) which
opens to my dressing-room, then my sleeping
apartment, and beyond that Harford's room."
" Does his room open from yours, then ? "
" No ; there, opposite, those two immense
mirrors are really sliding doors that go
back into the wall, and open into another
large salon, half study, half dining-room ;
but this is my favourite room, as I suppose
you will tell me you knew, without my
*' I need not be very clever to know
that," said Gabrielle, smiling, " or to see
Douglas Glen-Luna, 43
that you are a connoisseur in art, and a
He laughed at that — such a rich, soft
laugh, and answered, —
" I can retort on all points, I think, and
I will prove it at the first opportunity. I
suppose I shall not see you again, though,
this evening, after you go down to dinner % "
This rather wistfully.
" I will come back to you, Mr Glen-Luna,
directly dinner is over, if you wish it."
" No, no ; that would be selfish of me ;
stop with them this evening. I cannot,
must not, make you as much a prisoner as
I am myself. Here comes Powell to fetch
you to the drawing-room," as the lady's
maid appeared ; " isn't it so, Powell ? "
" Yes, sir, please, with my lady's compli-
ments, as Sir Arthur and Miss Jessie are
with her there now."
" Ah, qa, then au revoir, Mrs Albany."
*' For a couple of hours," she said, touch-
ing his hand, and followed Powell.
VERY TENDER HEARTED.
'ADY GLEN-LUNA met Gabrielle
at the door of the drawing-room,
and in her pretty unceremonious
way introduced her to her husband and
daughter ; the latter a second edition of
herself on a rather large scale ; the former
a fine, powerfully-built, hearty speaking
man of sixty, who was happiest hunting,
fishing, shooting, and such like, and could
in nowise understand how his son had
always loved and lived the life of great
capitals, and travelling here and there and
everywhere, instead of a country life, which
he knew Douglas hated like poison — the
Very Tender Hearted, 45
fact was, society had petted and spoiled
him. Petted its handsome, brilliant favourite
certainly had been, but the " spoiling " had
been beyond society's power.
" I'm delighted to welcome you amongst
us, Mrs Albany," said Sir Arthur, giving
her hand such a very friendly shake, that it
nearly wrung it off. *' I hope you had an
agreeable journey ; — but my little wife tells
me you are an old traveller."
" I am indeed, Sir Arthur ; often, too, in
regions and in a fashion that, I suppose,
few women have experienced. Forty-eight
hours in the saddle in the wilds of Mexico,
with scarcely any rest, was not quite as
comfortable as a first-class carriage."
" How dreadful ! " exclaimed Jessie Glen-
Luna ; " but what a rider you must be, then !
And were you alone ? "
" No," said Gabrielle, and there was a
momentary pained contraction of the brow ;
** I was with my husband. Sir Arthur, you
have a lovely place here."
46 Very Tender Hearted,
" I am glad you admire it, Mrs Albany ;
and, since you are such a rider, we must
give you a mount, and show you far and
*' And I assure you," laughed Lady Glen-
Luna, "that you have risen twenty-fold in
Sir Arthur's estimation by the discovery of
your equestrian powers."
" You shouldn't tell tales out of school,
love. My wife and Jessie, Mrs Albany, are
very pretty riders indeed, but not as bold
as I like ; eh, puss ? " patting his daughter's
cheek. " Can't get them to follow hounds.
You, I suppose — "
*'Not me either, Sir Arthur. I like a
wild ride, but I do not care about hunting
or any country sports."
*' Ah, now, what a shame ! " exclaimed
the baronet, holding up his hands. " You
are as bad as Douglas. You are, then,
urban ; I am rural."
" You are lost now, my dear Mrs Albany,"
came Lady Glen-Luna's laughing tones
Very Tender Hearted, 47
again. ** I suppose you have never been
in this part of the country before ? "
" Never, Lady Glen-Luna ; I have, in
fact, been very little in England. I was
born and lived in Florence till I was six
years old — then sent by my guardian to a
school in the west-end of London — and from
there," she spoke in a very quiet, resolute
matter-of-course way, " when I was just
sixteen I married. I was abroad, out of
England entirely for the next seven years,
and afterwards, when I was Professor Mer-
ton's secretary, we were constantly travelling
on the Continent."
" Ah, all that accounts for your accent
being just a little bit foreign," said Sir
Arthur, smiling. " You and Douglas will
certainly find plenty in common, for I never
could keep him in England much from the
time he left college to the day he was brought
home to our London house injured from that
terrible accident, which was nearly two years
ago ; he was eight-and-twenty."
48 Very Tender Hearted,
" There is some hope of ultimate recovery,
is there not ? " Gabrielle asked.
" We hope so ; the physicians all say so,
and he is much better and stronger on the
whole in the last twelve months, though he
is sometimes very exhausted, I fancy ; but
there is still something about the case which
the Faculty haven't quite reached yet. I
know this " — said Sir Arthur emphatically —
" that I would give one thousand pounds
down to any doctor who would make my
noble boy what he was again."
" It is too good to hope for," said Adeline
Glen-Luna, with a gentle sigh ; and, glancing
tenderly at her, Sir Arthur whispered to
" She is such a soft-hearted little thing,
and so fond of Douglas ; she was quite ill
with terror and grief when he was brought
home. It was she who suggested his having
such a lady as yourself for a secretary and
"Oh, was it?" thought the secretary,
Very Tender Hearted. 49
with a keen covert glance at the very
*• tender-hearted little thing." " What
could be her motive ? "
But she only bowed, and was spared a
conventional lie by the announcement of
dinner, which to-day was quite en famille.
Conversation, however, flowed on. Gabrielle
was brilliant, graceful, wonderfully versatile,
always the clever, cultured woman of the
world and travel ; to each and all she at-
tuned herself with the winning grace of ^
fine nature whose very charm was its utter
absence of the least art, or effort to win.
But after dinner was quite over she only
remained in the drawing-room a little while,
and then, saying that she had promised Mr
Glen-Luna to return, bade them adieu for that
evening, and went back to the west wing.
Five minutes after the door had closed,
Lady Glen -Luna, lifting her eyes for a
moment from her fancy work, said, —
*' Well, dearest, and how do you like
Madame la Secretaire ? "
VOL. I. D
so Very Tender Hearted,
** The most beautiful, most charming
woman I have ever met," said Jessie —
then she came nearer and sat down on the
sofa by her mother — " but, mamma, I pro-
fess I do not understand you."
" No ? why not, love ? " The little white
fingers worked on complacently ; the red
lips, ever smiling, smiled still. ''Why don't
you understand me ? "
" Why, you did not like papa s taking it
into his head to want Douglas to marry
Hyacinth Lee, and you very cleverly tried
to get off asking her to stay here this coming
** Certainly ; because I am sure that Miss
Lee has refused two good offers in these last
two years solely on our dear boy's account,
and if he only asked her she would say
*'Do you think he would, then, mamma?"
Adeline laughed softly.
** He might, if she comes here and is
thrown in his way. I should hardly think,
Very Tender Hearted, 5 1
Jessie, that you need to be told why I do
not want Douglas to marry Hyacinth or any
'* That is just it, mamma," said her
daughter impatiently, " and yet you, your
own self, have placed about him — flung at
him — such a woman as this, whom you
must see, mamma, it is impossible for any
man to resist."
Again that quiet, intense little laugh, and
fleeting upward glance. ^
" No one knows that better than ' mam-
ma,' most sage little would-be wiseacre ;
but you quite forget, sweetest, that Mrs
Leicester Albany is married — not a widow,
but a wife." .
" But that won't prevent any man falling
in love with her," answered Miss Nineteenth
" Oh no ! Oh dear, no, my love ; but
then I really cannot undertake to guard
the heart or morals of a man of thirty.
And scamps like I am sure this Albany is,
UNIVERSITY OF iLLINOIS
52 Very Tender Hearted,
always live for ever, just because every one
wishes them dead. Of course," Lady Glen-
Luna turned to get the fading light full on
her work, " it would be dreadfully wicked
to fall in love with another man's wife.
Oh ! very dreadful, and sad ; and he never
could marry her, especially sad," she said
slowly, " as if — if he did, he would never
marry at all. Dear Douglas has his faults,
but one of his grandest, noblest, good
points is a heart as faithful as a woman's,
more than most women's ! Bah I but
why meet troubles half-way with absurd
romantic fancies and anticipations of what
I really have no fear of ? King for Dawson
to light the chandeliers."
But Jessie understood mamma a little
better now, and set her down as a clever
So she was, for she knew how to reckon
on the good as well as wrongful passions of
the complex human heart. Tender-hearted
little thing !
ON DANGEROUS GROUND.
KABRIELLE ALBANY easily
>^-^ found her way back through the
^ :2S^W\ labyrinth of passages by whicTi
she had come, and regained the precincts
in which Douglas had said she was to make
As she reached the corridor, a tall, very
powerfully-built man of forty, dressed in
black, with a good-looking and most pleas-
ing face, came out of the salon, caught
sight of Gabrielle, and came up to her,
with a profoundly respectful salute.
" I beg your pardon, madam, for the
liberty of addressing you first, but there i
54 On Dangerous Ground,
something which perhaps you might like
to know of, as only us three are in this
wing at night. I am Harford, Mr Doug-
las's own courier. See here, Mrs Albany,
this thick, red bell-pull, high up against the
" I see it ; I can reach it, being tall," she
answered. " What is it ? what does it ring,
Harford % "
" An alarm bell, madam," said the man,
a little significantly she fancied. '' It hangs
high up on the clock tower, and if rung
would pretty soon wake all the rest of the
household away in the east wing, and the
folks down in Doring too, as sure as my
name is William Harford. It's as well to
know all this, ma'am, that's all, when weVe
got some one so helpless and so very precious
as the young master to take care of."
" It is, indeed, Harford ; thank you for
telling me ; but what do you fear ? " — this,
to try and get at the man's thought, if any
definite one there was.
On Dangerous Ground, 55
" Well, ma'am, there might be thieves or
fifty things in a country house, you see,
and one can't be too much on one's guard
in this world, ma'am, where there's so many
wolves in sheep's clothing."
As he said that slowly he looked up
straight in her face, and their eyes met
full for one moment ; his searching, anxious,
gauging her ; hers steadfast, deep, perfectly
reading the man's doubt and fear and
So for a minute she stood, and then,-
with a quiet, significant smile creeping over
her firm, chiselled lips she asked a ques-
" Have you been long in Mr Douglas's
service, Harford ? "
" Ever since he came of age, madam,
and went travelling."
" Ah ! then I suppose you are very much
attached to him ? "
"Well, ma'am, I couldn't say much in
words," said the man simply; "but there
56 On Dange7'ous Ground,
ain't a living being I love as I do my
master. I can't think how anyone that's
much with him could help it. If I may
make so bold, ma'am, as to say so, I'm very
glad you have come, for he won't be left
alone now ; and he's so patient, and never
" Sir Arthur seems fond of his son," said
Gabrielle, without directly answering the
** So he is, madam ; and he most gener-
ally sees Mr Douglas for a short time every
day, but I think — " The man paused
She laid her hand — that soft, delicate, and
singularly nervous hand of hers — on his
arm for a moment, and looking full into his
face, said, —
" You may trust me, Harford, as you do
yourself. I was a total stranger to the
vefy existence of every one in this house
until I answered that advertisement. I am
a woman who has lived in the world entirely,
On Dangerous Ground, 57
and never liad eyes or ears or one sense
closed, who can see when many would be
blind, and read between the lines ; I under-
stand you, and I think now you understand
me. / am absolutely in your master's
She dropped her hand and moved on
with her light, noiseless step to the salon,
which was now brilliantly lighted up. The
door still stood ajar, and the moment she
entered Douglas half lifted himself eagerly.
" I heard your voice in the corridor ; how
good of you to come back to me ; and I am
sure that you must be very tired ; sit down
in that little, low easy-chair."
" Thank you, Mr Glen-Luna " — she drew
the chair into the window near him and
sat down, ** but I am not tired — not very,
at any rate. I was speaking to your courier,
" I know you were. I am sure you will
like him, Mrs Albany ; he is the best, the
most faithful, the most unwearied of beings.''
58 On Dangerous Ground,
" I am sure of that," Gabrielle answered
quietly ; ''we have quite made friends
already. And what a fine, powerful man
"Is he not ? I assure you he lifts me
up almost as easily as if I were — a child I
had almost said ; it is half knack, of course,
and I am very light — always was for a
" I should think so, for though tall you
are so slight," said his beautiful companion,
smiling. " Harford seems devoted to you."
" Foi ! you must not believe the quarter
he says of me, Mrs Albany," said Douglas,
colouring and laughing a little. " I don't
believe he sees a fault in my very faulty
self; he does his best to make me the most
vain, selfish, and spoiled of mortals."
** I don't believe anything would make
you that," thought Gabrielle, glancing at
the handsome, loyal face, thrown out into
such clear relief against the crimson cushions
on which it lay, but aloud she said, —
On Dangerous Ground, 59
" I like him all the better for the grand
old feudal feeling, so rare and so refreshing
in these days, but I suppose he comes of
good yeoman stock ; you, by your name,
should be of Highland descent."
" C'est vrai, madame, we are a very
ancient Highland race, faithful always to
the Stewarts. My ancestor was a younger
son and followed James I. to England, and
his son, in the first year of King Charles
the Martyr, married the heiress of these
lands. Jessie is called after her."
" Is she ? I suppose your sister is a
great deal with you ? "
The magnificent grey eyes drooped.
" Oh no, not much ; of course they have
much visiting to do, and it is so dull for her
He said it quietly, but the restless move-
ment of pain or weariness was involuntary,
so restless that the cushions slipped uneasily.
Before he could even run the chance of
hurting himself, by an attempt to replace
6o On Dangerous Ground,
them, Gabrielle was bending over him with
a gentle, " Let me do it," and, passing her
arm around his shoulders, lifted him so as
to rest against her, while she shook and
replaced the cushions. He tried to move,
fearful of tiring her, but suddenly the
beautiful head sank back heavily on her
breast, the dark eyes closed, a moan of pain
quivering over the lips, yet one loved name
first on them in this half unconciousness.
" Mother ! "
Oh, how it wrung her very heart to hear
that name ; to see this young, strong man,
lying on her bosom as helpless as the infant
whose few weeks' fitful life had died out
these years ago ! And hot tears fell on the
statuesque face even as she bathed the
deathly brow and lips with the eau de
Cologne she always carried about her.
Consciousness had never quite been lost,
and as her soft breath fanned the fragrant
essence on his cheek, the colour came faintly
back, the grey eyes opened, the lips moved.
On Dangerous Ground, 6i
*' It is like — my mother ! I thought —
" Hush ! only Gabrielle Albany."
'* Gabrielle — is that ? Ah, it is passing 1
Lay me back ; give me your hand."
She laid him gently back, and kneeling
down beside him, put her soft, firm hand
into his, which closed round it instantly ;
and for some minutes he lay like that, per-
fectly still and silent. Then without loos-
ing her hand, the large eyes opened again
full on hers, as he spoke strongly, distinctly
now, with an emotion he could not crush.
" How good you are ! Forgive me ; it
was all my fault. I forgot again, as I too
often do, that I am not what I was. My
movement was too reckless, too quick, for
the spine, I suppose, and brought back
temporarily the agony of pain I used to
have at first. It is that no doctor has yet
quite got at. If they could — did I speak
just now ? Something that pained, wounded
you, I fear ; for surely — Ah, forgive me
62 On Dangerous Ground,
for the tears ! I would sooner suffer any
pain than cause pain to any woman ! "
" Oh, hush ! it was nothing, only my own
weakness," she said, bowing her face on the
hand that still held hers. " You only said
one word that — that once, for a few weeks,
was mine — mother ! And the bitterest
sting was that I had to thank God for
Douglas made no answer in words ; but,
if ever the clasp of loyal hand spake more
than any lexicon or grammar, his did then,
and forged a chain of sympathy which no
after blow could ever have severed ; only
presently he said softly, —
" I thought it was my mother, for a few
moments. Your touch, your voice are like,
oh! so like, and — and — she died when
I was a boy, quite a boy ! I am glad you
are like her. I can talk to you of her, and
take you to her grave."
A quick, grateful look into his face, a low-
spoken *' Thank you ! " and Gabrielle rose.
On Dangerous Ground, 63
" You know now," Glen-Luna added, as
she resumed her seat at his side, ^' why I
have never called Adeline mother ? "
**I think I knew it before this," she
answered softly ; and Douglas understood
Were both not walking unconsciously on
dangerous ground ?
A FURTHER INSIGHT.
HE new inmate of Luna Park was
up early, according to her usual
custom, and in her own elegant
sitting-room, arranging her desk and music
books. Of the wondrous mass of " uncon-
sidered trifles " and useless nicknacks and
fancy articles which ordinarily spring into
the light and bestrew a room in the first
five minutes after a lady's pet box is opened
Gabrielle had none ; she cared nothing for
such nonsense, and in her wandering, un-
happy life had gathered about her none of
those things that are simply in the way, to
A Further Insight, 65
one especially who has no headquarters.
She had never had hearth or Lares.
The family breakfast hour was nine ; that
of Douglas Glen-Luna, she naturally sup-
posed, would be later, or, at least, variable ;
but just before eight there came a gentle
tap at the door.
" Come in," she said, and Harford ap-
peared on the threshold.
" Good morning, madam. The master
heard you moving long ago, and sent me
with, his compliments to ask if you woulJ
do him the honour to breakfast with him at
eight. He is always early."
** I shall have great pleasure in joining
him, Harford, if you will tell him so, with
my compliments. How is he ? "
" Why, Mrs Albany, more like his own
bright, laughing self before the accident
than I've ever seen him since it, till now.
I wish you had been with us all along,
ma'am; for I believe it's half fret and
loneliness — the mental suffering, you know,
VOL. I. E
66 A Further Insight.
ma'am, that has kept him back ; and of
course, when a man is down like that, it's
just a woman he wants about him con-
stantly. I admit that it isn't one in a
thousand that would suit Mr Douglas ; and
I'm equally sure, if I may make so bold,
ma'am, that you are just that one in the
She smiled openly ; the faithful man was
certainly " a character " — an odd mixture of
naivete and shrewdness, with quick strong
likes and dislikes.
" Time alone will show that, Harford. 1
will certainly do my best, and not lightly
leave. Now, I will go to him."
Harford drew deferentially back, and Mrs
Albany passed out into the salon. It was
empty ; but the inner doors were slid back,
and within lay another beautiful apartment
to which Gabrielle turned at once.
Not on a couch yet, at any rate, but re-
clining on that dainty light-wheeled chair,
was handsome Douglas Glen-Luna, and his
A Fu7'ther hisight. 67
start and flush of pleasure was in itself an
eloquent welcome, as she came forward and
frankly clasped his hand.
*' How are you this morning, Mr Glen-
Luna ? You had no return of that terrible
pain, I hope ? "
" Oh, no, no ; thank you ; it was all my
fault. How good of you to commence your
troublesome charge so early. Mrs Albany,
you are surely gifted with a physical strength
much above most women, especially such a
slight, delicately -made woman as you are."'
*'I am so; but what makes you say so,
Mr Glen-Luna ? "
" Why, last evening you raised me on one
arm, and held me so easily, so strongly
without any effort or heave up. A weaker,
less firm touch or hold would have much
increased the agony."
"It is yet one more reason," she said,
" for me to be thankful that I am so strong.
It has stood me in good stead many a time
in my life."
68 A Further Insight.
Douglas leaned his head back against the
cushions behind him and said, playing with
his silky moustache as he watched her
graceful movements, —
" I should think you are the very coolest,
bravest of mortals in danger."
" Merci bien, monsieur, for your good
opinion," she half smiled, as she put his
coffee cup beside him ; but there was both
pain and bitterness in that smile, for the
dire tests to which both coolness and courage
had been put so severely.
Douglas noticed both, and, with graceful
ease and courtesy, turned the subject.
" Well," he said lightly, " I hope you will
not need either here much, except if you
dare to ride my fiery Arab, or drive a pair
of blood horses in my phaeton, for I am sure
you are great in both those lines, and fond
of it too," he added laughingly, " for your
eyes sparkle at the mere mention."
" You are very quick, Mr Glen-Luna ;
it would indeed be a pleasure, only, surely
A Further Insight, 69
you are jesting ! You must not take my
powers on trust ; your own favourite horses,
"I do not think I need be afraid, Mrs
Albany, either for you or the horses," he
answered, pulling the stalk off a magnifi-
cent strawberry ; '' and I assure you I
thereby pay you as high a compliment as
I shall presently by begging you to try my
piano. Of course I have neither ridden
nor driven for eighteen months, and, saVe
my groom to exercise him, no one but
myself has ever mounted Hassan, my beauti-
ful Arab. He would carry you splendidly !
And the chesnuts ! Would not you like
them out this morning for a drive ? "
" Mr Glen-Luna, I must answer you after
the style of Queen Anne's lady, when she
was asked the hour — ' Whatever time your
majesty pleases !' "
" But your tell-tale eyes betray you,
Mrs Albany," said Douglas wickedly ; and
70 A Further Insight.
** Yours are far too keen ; I must veil
mine, I see, when I answer you. I sup-
pose you drive out every day ? "
'• No," he said, shaking his curly head. " I
have not done so ; it was miserable, lonely,
dull work — and — and I shrank horribly
from meeting any one I had known ; I have
tried to shut away the outward world."
How perfectly she understood the man's
feeling, how her woman's heart ached for
him, and swelled with passionate resentment
against the sister, at least, who should have
made his life so different. How could they !
oh, how could they so cruelly neglect one
so gentle, so suffering, so helpless ? The
indignant cry had almost risen to her lips,
but she crushed it, and laid her hand on
his, with a touch that came like a tender,
exquisitely sympathetic touch on a delicate
" You have let yourself grow morbid,"
she said very gently, " but I must change
all that now."
A Further Insight. 7 1
" Now I' Douglas repeated, " it is all
changed already ; driving out, going in
the park with you will be a pleasure, a
relief. These very rooms look different
to-day ! They have been a prison. I had
grown so weary, oh, so weary of every-
thing ; I could not read for ever, reader as
I am ; the mind wants, craves for com-
panionship, a kindred mind, even in the
blessed world of books. I could not even
write half as much as my thoughts flowed,
for they will not let me sit up for long at
a time, and then I grew sick of my own
presence. Jessie and her mother, no doubt,
have so many claims, far more than mine,
upon their time ; and little Jessie, too, is
young and gay, and naturally likes society ;
my dull rooms could only be a prison to her,
and besides, my pursuits and favourites of
art and literature are not hers. I should
only bewilder and weary her, and she —
well, it is my fault, I know — she would
fret and jar every chord ; it is wrong in
72 A Further Insight,
me to be absurdly sensitive and morbid,
but — but — Ah, forgive me, dear Mrs Albany,
for making such a father confessor of you ;
it seems as if I had known you for years
instead of hours."
'' Thank you."
She turned aside a moment in silence,
masking a deep emotion which is far more
easily stirred in those that have suffered
much than in those whose lives have been
comparatively free from trial. Those who
have wept for their own dead can more
readily weep for another's dead.
His noble self-abnegation, the very gener-
osity and utter unselfishness of his attempt
to shield his sister and stepmother, only
unconsciously laid yet more bare to Gabri-
elle their selfishness and neglect, over
which they threw the veil of words, as
flimsy to her as to their object, however
he might try to gloss it over to himself
*' Say to me what you will," she said after
A Further Insight, 73
that pause. " I shall not misunderstand
you, or — "
She bit her lip as the word " them " rose,
and added " others."
When the servant came to remove the
breakfast equipage, his master gave the
order for his park phaeton and chesnut
pair to be ready at ten.
" The blood horses, sir, what you have
out in the carriage ? " asked the man.
" Yes, Mrs Albany will drive therf ;
and tell Harford to be in attendance on
horseback, for " — he added, turning to
Gabrielle with a smile — *' though I would
not care, I suppose you would not like
the responsibility of both horses and
master, at least until you are used to
" Thank you for your consideration, Mr
Glen-Luna ; certainly a pair of spirited
horses are not like quiet park ponies, and
the charge is far too precious to be risked to
the least chance of an accident. Now, shall
74 ^ Further Insight.
I wheel you into your favourite window
in the next room ? "
" You shall do nothing so — "
" Very easily accomplished," said his
autocratic attendant, putting her hand on
the handle of the light, silent, wheeled
chair, and pushing it, with hardly more
than a touch, into the salon, bringing it to
anchor near his sofa.
" Fairly run away with," said he, laugh-
ingly, looking up in her face, " but needs
must when beauty drives. I am afraid,
Mrs Leicester Albany, that you have a will
of your own, and really intend to make me
feel its power."
" Quite right, Mr Douglas Glen-Luna,
for I see there is much reformation needed
in you, and there is nothing like — "
" Training up a child in the way it should
go," said he, laying his head contentedly
back. " Faith, fair autocrat, I have no ob-
jection to your rule — to fetters of gold and
A Further Insight. 75
'' But the gold of the fetters is alloyed
with harder, baser metal, and the flowers
have thorns sometimes."
" You can't frighten me, Mrs Albany ;
I don't think there is much of the ' baser
metal ' or thorns either about you."
As he spoke, a step came along the gal-
lery, a tap at the door, and Jessie, looking
wonderfully pretty in her light muslin,
" Good morning, Douglas ; and how afe
you, Mrs Albany ? Breakfast is on table."
" Thank you, Miss Glen-Luna ; but, as
I am an early riser, your brother kindly
asked me to join him. We are going to
drive out almost directly."
" Are you ? I am so glad," said Jessie,
so exactly with her mother's manner, that
Gabrielle could well have boxed her ears.
" We never could get him out much, though
the doctors all said he ought to. Naughty
Douglas ! By-the-bye, dear, it's quite true
that Mr Parker has given up his practice
76 A Further Insight,
in Doring for the present, on account of his
health, and another gentleman has come to
his house and place."
" Indeed ! you chattering puss ; some
fascinating young fellow, I suppose, for you
girls to flirt with, eh ? " laughed Douglas.
" Isn t he impudent, Mrs Albany? Well,
to be sure, they say he is handsome, very
clever, and — "
" Very old," put in Glen-Luna.
" No, sir ; only about thirty-five."
" Dear creature ; and what is the name
belonging to this interesting biped —
Brown ? "
" You are a goose, Douglas ! Brown,
indeed ! It's Dr Chandos Neville. We
shall see him, of course, on Sunday, at
" Perhaps he's an infidel, my dear ; sure
to have funny notions if he's at all scientific
or philosophic," declared Douglas, ofi" hand,
"or at five - and - thirty, of course, he's
married — horrible idea ! "
A Further Insight, 77
*' Oh no ; he's not," said Jessie promptly,
and Douglas fairly burst out laughing.
" Ma foi, you took care to ask that, then,
" Oh ! Mrs Albany may flirt with him,"
laughed Jessie ; " she has had more ex-
perience than I have, I daresay, being
" Your feminine tongue runs too fast,
little Jessie," said Glen-Luna, as his quick
glance saw Leicester Albany's wife shiver.
" Eun away to your breakfast, child, or
father will be vexed."
" Ta-ta, then," cried Jessie, and vanished,
just as Harford came in to announce the
OUGLAS GLEN-LUNA'S exqui-
sitely-appointed equipage — the
elegant phaeton, the magnificent
horses, in their glittering silver
-might well have been the admira-
tion and envy of the country.
The wheeled chair was standing empty
in the hall, and its owner already in the
phaeton, when Gabrielle, in her graceful
plumed hat, and drawing on her riding
gloves, came out.
'' Oh, they are beauties, indeed ! " she
exclaimed, patting the arching neck of the
one nearest her, and the noble animal tossed
A Drive. 79
his head, trammelled by no cruel bearing
rein, and turning his great lustrous eyes on
her, perfectly aware not only of the caress,
but of the admiration.
Ah, how can any one ill-treat those noble,
faithful friends of man — horses and dogs !
The groom at the head looked as proud
as a peacock, and Douglas's smile was full
" I think you will hardly know what to
say to Hassan, Mrs Albany, or my collie
dog, whom I hope to have back from the
veterinary surgeon ; he cut his foot the
other day, poor dog ! Of course you are
fond of dogs ? "
" Very, very fond of them," she answered,
as she stepped in and gathered up the
ribbons ; and then Harford mounted, the
groom stepped back, and the whole equi-
page swept off in splendid style down the
stately avenue up which she had come the
day before, Harford riding a little distance
8o A Drive.
" I want to see Doring," said the fair
driver ; " it is a very picturesque little
town, is it not ? "
" Very ; but — you are not going to drive
right through Doring ? " He winced visibly
at the thought.
** If you will not forbid me, Mr Douglas.
I want to break the cordon of morbidness
that has been drawn round you ; and, be-
lieve me, the ordeal will not be so terrible
as it looks. Will you trust me ? "
What man — least of all, the chivalrous
Glen-Luna — could have resisted those beau-
tiful eyes, that soft, pleading voice ?
" How could I possibly say you nay ? "
he said. " I am always a ready slave to
beauty's wishes. Forgive me, dear Mrs
Albany, if I say all sorts of pretty things to
you, for it's second nature ; and if you
only knew how dreadful it is not to
have any one to say them to for eighteen
months ! "
It was said with such whimsical energy
A Drive, 8i
that Gabrielle rippled into an irresistibly
" If that is such a grievance, pray make all
the pretty speeches that come to your ready
tongue, and I'll try to devoutly believe them
real — shall I ? I wonder how many compli-
ments you have uttered in your life ? "
" Oh, ma foi ! — thousands, of course," said
he coolly, opening his great dark eyes wide
at her ; " a fellow must, you know."
** Yraiment, monsieur ! — so many, I sup-
* That neither history nor song
Can count them all.'
Ah, the river ! How beautiful, how tempt-
ing it looks in this glorious sunshine ! "
" Would you like to drive back round to
the boathouse, and have out the steam
launch ? " said Douglas at once.
" Oh no, thank you ; not now. Is that
the outskirt of Doring just ahead ? "
She pointed her right hand to some
dainty picturesque houses, evidently belong-
VOL. I. F
&2 A Drive.
ing to well-to-do people, bedded amongst
trees and gardens giving on to the road.
" Yes ; and do you see that pretty white
house, covered with clinging roses, and a
tiny verandah ? "
" Yes." In fact, the horses' heads were
almost alongside the gates. " Whose is it ? "
" It was old Mr Parker's, the principal
doctor in Doring," Glen-Luna answered ;
**but, if Jessie is right, this new man,
Dr Chandos Neville, has just domiciled
himself there. Look — there is a lady in
As the phaeton passed, the lady turned
and saw it, and its very striking occupants.
" What a sweet - looking woman," said
Gabrielle. " I wonder who she is ? She
looks about fifty, but she cannot be the
doctor's mother ; she looks so plainly a
maiden lady. I should like — "
"Go on ; tell me what ? " said Douglas,
glancing at the picturesque beauty of the
woman at his side.
A Drive, 83
** Forgive me ; I was forgetting."
** What ? That you are to say to me
whatever you please ? '*
" Ah, no ! not that ; you are too kind,
I was only going to say that 1 should like
to know that lady, whoever she is."
*' Perhaps she returned the compliment,"
She flushed for a moment, and then said,
with a cynical bitterness, the more intense
from its quietness, " She will not if, or
when, she knows what I am. Women are
merciless on a wife separated from her
husband ; it is always her fault."
" I am afraid you are right in the main ;
but," he said, with a flash in the grey eyes,
" no one had better say so to me."
" Why not ? " she said quickly, with the
same ring of intensely bitter pain in her
low, mellow tones. " After all, what do you
know of me or my past life, but what has
come from myself ? "
*' Nothing, certainly," was the quiet an-
84 A Drive,
swer; "neither do I wish or care to know
anything from any other source. And of
yourself I judge for myself. I have never
yet been deceived, and I am not now."
The deep grey eyes were looking dreamily
out before him as he said that, as if they
saw afar off, into that past life to which she
had alluded — into the untold misery and
cruel wrongs that had so terribly embittered,
perhaps well-nigh wrecked, her young life.
She made no answer for some minutes ; but
the firm hand on the reins shook for a
minute, and the sensitive lips quivered, as
she said, half under her breath, —
*' But you are a man, and, pardon me,
your very chivalry of gentleman makes you
too lenient to a woman."
*'Nay, I think a man can never be too
lenient to a woman, Mrs Albany."
Her breast heaved, and her eyes filled,
but she said nothing, — she dared not, he
saw ; and presently, with her exquisite
womanly tact, turned the subject, as, fol-
A Drive, 85
lowing Harford ahead, she turned her horses
into Doring High Street, a wide irregular
mixture of shops and houses. Of course,
heads went round, or looked out of win-
dows, and tongues wagged quickly enough
as the " young master " and his singular
companion drove past — he for the first time
since his accident, — and plentiful food was
gathered in for that queer meal which the
good ladies of a country town fondly
imagine is " five o'clock." ♦
Talking now, and laughing too, in good-
natured amusement at " countryisms," the
two town-bred occupants of the carriage
drove on right through the market-place,
and so away again into the open country,
with ever-changing views of " hill and wold
and river," at every turn of the road, till at
length, on the summit of a hill, they could
see Luna Park, with its rich woods and
winding river, miles away behind them.
" How the road narrows here," Gabrielle
remarked presently. " It would be quite
S6 A Drive.
impossible for two vehicles to pass here,
would it not ? If one came round that turn
Douglas's answer was a laugh, and a hand
pointing ahead as, round that very turn,
came a dashing horse and trap, driven by a
gentleman, with a page at his side.
All saw the situation in a moment. Har-
ford stopped short. Mrs Albany drew up
her spirited horses splendidly, and the
gentleman, pulling up sharply, sprang to
the ground and came up to the phaeton,
lifting his hat to the handsome and very
distingue looking occupants.
" I really must beg pardon," he began,
and then the ludicrousness of the contre-
temps was irresistible. All three broke
into a laugh, and even Harford gave vent
to a respectfully smothered, decorous little
" * A regular fix,' " said Glen-Luna ; then,
slightly raising himself from his half-
reclining position amongst the cushions,
A Drive. ^7
'' what is to be done ? There is no siding
for a long way, I think."
" I will back my trap to a gate just round
the turn," said the stranger. " I am so sorry
to keep a lady waiting."
" Pray, do not mention it," she answered,
smiling ; '' it will give the horses a rest."
" You are very kind to put it so, madam,
said the stranger, glancing at the beautiful
face as he stepped back. " I will be as
quick as possible."
But Harford, who had dismounted, seeing
that Gabrielle had the horses well in hand,
threw his bridle over a bush bough in the
hedge, and turned, touching his hat.
" I will help you, sir, if you will allow
''Thank you, very much; but perhaps
your master and mistress — "
Douglas's musical tones struck pleasantly
*' Will both be pleased for you to accept
assistance in such a troublesome job. My
88 A Drive,
horses are quite safe," — adding, with, an
amused smile to Gabrielle, as the two
men went off, —
" Handsome fellow, and looks clever. I
wonder if he is the new doctor Jessie so
recommended to your powers of captiva-
tion ? Don't you feel tempted to try, Mrs
She laughed, and answered lightly, with
her expressive foreign shrug, —
" Ma foi, monsieur, I will not interfere
with Jessie's fun."
" You certainly would prove a dangerous
rival ; I'm afraid little Jessie would not
have a chance, pretty as she is."
" Why not ? Some people prefer daisies
and buttercups to exotics."
" Yes ; some men do."
Clearly the speaker was not one of
** There is a frightful lot of humbug
talked sometimes about it," he added.
*' Wild flowers are all very well in their
A Drive. 89
place, but after all, they cannot compare to
their cultivated brethren any more than
their two prototypes in human nature can
bear it. Why the wild flower should be
more ' innocent ' than the rarest black rose
or richest tropic beauty of culture's own
rearing, or the taste for the first be more
pure than the love of the last I cannot see.
God made them both. It is exactly the
same cant as the school which talks of the
desperate vice of town and the sweet inno-
cence of the country. Bah ! They should
say ' ignorance ' instead. I have not been
a saint any more than my neighbours ; IVe
knocked about half over the world — in towns
and out of towns — and seen enough of the
wickedness of both, and I never could find
out that in any one way the cities were
greater sinners ; rather the other way, for
country vice is coarse and ignorant, its crime
both stupid and brutal — extra counts against
the ' innocent purity' of rurality, I think."
" I thoroughly go with you, Mr Douglas,
90 A Drive,
botli in opinion and experience, and mine
has given me right enough to know." She
added that half to herself with a smothered
sigh, then looked up with a restless move-
ment and a little laugh. " But how oddly
we have strayed from Jessie and our stranger.
Here comes Harford."
The courier came up, saluting.
" It's all right now, madam, if you'll please
drive on slow and keep the off side of the
road as much as you can."
He loosed his own horse, mounted, and
rode forward, the carriage following to where
the gentleman's trap stood, crushed close to
a gate in the hedge, so as just to allow
room, with care, for the phaeton to pass.
Courteous thanks and adieux were ex-
changed, and the two parties each went on
their opposite ways.
" I believe I guess who that young fellow
is," muttered the stranger, looking after the
retreating carriage. I've heard of him
already. What a cruel thing that such
strength and perfect beauty should be laid
low. It can't be hopeless. I wish I had
charge of him, by heaven, if he were too
poor to pay a pound ! I do, as sure as my
name is Chandos Neville ! "
ITS NO BUSINESS OF MINE.
EEMEMBER once hearing re-
cited a very clever serio-comic
piece in verse, setting forth the
manner in which a pair of country ladies,
over their " dish " of tea, began by pick-
ing holes in the bonnet of a certain neigh-
bour, and ended by entirely taking away
1 think that all these sort of coteries were
invented by Lucifer as a happy thought to
fill up all the odd corners of wickedness,
just as the German toy makers, in packing
their exporting boxes, fill up all the spaces
and corners with those fascinating carved-
I£s no Business of Mine, 93
wood animals made by the children of the
Black Forest, which we all remember as the
delight of our childish days.
Look at that coterie of Doring ladies,
seated over afternoon tea — one can hardly
call it by the fashionable name of " five
o'clock " — on the pretty lawn of Mrs Win-
stanley's house, not far from the new
doctor's residence. None of these fair ones
were on visiting terms at the Hall, of
course, but some happy few of them, the
hostess for one, enjoyed the honour of a
bowing acquaintance with " that sweet
little thing," Lady Glen-Luna, who will
often, if she meets them about, or sees
them at their gate, stop her pony chair,
and have a chat, when there is anything
she wants passed about. But this is be-
tween ourselves ; when she didn't care for
that, the bright metallic treble would only
cry out cheerily : " Ah, how do, dear Miss
Chataway ? how's the school ? such a hurry,
94 I^'s "^0 Business of Mine,
But to-day, only about two hours after
that carriage had driven through the little
town, both my lady and her daughter
had been seen to stop Mrs Winstanley in
the market-place, and talk to her " for ever
so long," no doubt all about this new inmate
of the Hall, about whom all the tongues had
wagged and surmised already, on such in-
formation as could be obtained from the
" Saw them, my dear?" said Miss Chat-
away, pursing up her lips, " of course I did,
though he's never been out beyond the park
before I believe, and yet, here, the very
second day this ^ secretary ' forsooth, comes^
there they are right through the town, she
driving, an' it please you, — nothing less than
his own favourite blood horses will suit
madam ; these foreigners are so impudent."
" Is she foreign ? " asked another lady,
setting down her tiny teacup.
" She looks it, and has all that sort of
manner, you know. My dear, depend upon
Ifs no Business of Mine, 95
it, she's no stranger to monsieur, it's some
one he's known abroad."
" I daresay you are right, Miss Chataway.
I don't believe young Glen-Luna was a
saint," put in Mrs Orde, the wife of the
rival doctor to Mr Parker, who had never
been sent for to the Hall, "and I think
that her ladyship must be very — ahem ! —
innocent to allow such a dashing, handsome
Here Mrs Winstanley, big with superior
knowledge, turned round.
" My dear Mrs Orde, she is not so young
as she looks; Mrs Leicester Albany has
been married these nine years, ran away at
sixteen, and had to get a separation two
years ago. Lady Glen-Luna told me so
" Hum," said the doctor's wife, " I sup-
pose, then, the truth is that she is a
divorcee. It's nonsense to pretend that any
woman who was at all particular would go
as secretary, or anything else, to a single
96 It' s no Business of Mine.
man. And if she is separated from her
husband, depend upon it, it was her fault,"
Mrs Winstanley rejoined loftily.
" Dear Lady Glen-Luna quite knows what
she is about, and, of course, would never
have engaged a lady without — what she
had — the highest references. Why," ad-
dressing another friend, " Mrs Albany was
secretary and travelling companion to the
late Professor Merton."
" Eeally," returned her friend, wisely,
trying to look as if she knew perfectly well
who Professor Merton was, " was she in-
deed? And he was — yes, of course — I
" He was blind, you know ; so clever,"
added Mrs Winstanley, who hadn't even
heard the professor's name until that day,
— ** and thought very highly of the lady."
*' Well, we shall see," said Miss Chataway
sagaciously, *'I don't like your separated
wives. If matters go so far as that, why
not have got a divorce at once and have
It's no Business of Mine. 97
done with it ? It only looks as if she dared
not ! Don't it, Mrs Orde ? "
" So I think, my dear, and my cook, who
is cousin to the lodge-keeper at the park,
told me that the family are going as usual
for a month to London (Sir Arthur can*t
bear London longer), and, of course, this
Mrs Albany will be left here with Mr Glen-
" Well, he must have some one, you
see ; and he's really an invalid, and she's
a married woman," said Mrs Winstan-
.ley, sipping her tea, " and she's been in
California, and is Bohemian, and doesn't
care for these more civilised ideas, I sup-
pose. It's not my business; and what
sweet Lady Glen-Luna don't mind, I don't,
" I wonder she likes the responsibility of
having such a charge when they're all
away," said Mrs Orde viciously ; and Mrs
Winstanley replied urbanely, —
" Oh, but if he is taken ill, I daresay she
VOL. I. Q
98 It's no Business of Mine.
would send down at once for Dr Neville.
Are you going already ? "
Of course she was ; that last poke from
the rival leader in the very innocent faction
of the rural town was too much ; and so
Mrs Doctor Orde took leave, and the party
soon after broke up, leaving Mrs Leicester
Albany's name much in the position of snow
just after very dirty hands have touched
it. It was well, and very natural, that the
woman who had suffered such danger to
honour itself was so superbly indifferent to
the petty gossip and scandal which bandied
her name, but could not touch herself. Poor
young thing !
A VERY STRANGE ACCIDENT.
|0 that is your adventure this
morning, is it, brother mine*?
I saw them, too, pass here —
the young lady driving."
A sweet gentle voice, that surely never
spoke harshly of man, woman, or child ;
a broad, fair brow, and soft brown eyes,
that could smile with the merry, or weep
with the sorrowful, knowing what sorrow
was ; a white gentle hand, that had never
drawn her robe from a fallen sister's touch,
but rather been stretched out to save her ;
with quiet movements and noiseless gar-
ments, and silky tresses streaked with silver
lOO A very Strange Accident,
threads, coiled round the shapely head ;
and lips that only knew how to soothe
and comfort — that was Rose Neville, of
whom Leicester Albany's unhappy wife
had said that day, — " I should like to
know her," — Chandos Neville's only and
elder sister ; so much older, indeed, for
he was but five-and-thirty, that she had
been sister and mother in one.
" Poor young fellow 1 " she added, sigh-
ing ; " it made my heart ache to see him.
I guessed it could only be Sir Arthur Glen-
Luna's son, of whom we have heard, and
his sister ? "
" No, dear," Dr Neville answered ; "for I
actually asked, on my way home. She is
a lady who has just come to be his secre-
tary. She is married, they tell me ; but
separated from her husband."
" Poor young thing ! " said pitying Rose ;
" it is a very painful and sad position for a
woman so young and beautiful to be placed
in. Not free, and yet utterly unprotected."
A very Strange Accident, loi
" I think the fellow who could be cruel
to such a beautiful wife ought to be
hanged ! " said Chandos vigorously.
" Hush ! dear boy," reproved Eose, smil-
ing ; " and did not Mr Parker or some
one tell you that the young man was
injured in a railway accident ? "
"Ay ! in saving a fellow passenger.
" Well, dear ? "
" Why, I wish etiquette was at Jericht),
for I would give anything to try my
hand with that young fellow ! The old
stationmaster has just been telling me
about him. He says they've had all the
crack physicians and surgeons — of course
they have — but no one has got him be-
yond his present point ; there is some-
thing in fault no one has yet reached,
he says. Don't laugh at me, Eose ; but
I believe I'd find it out. I would take
him in hand for nothing, if they'd let
me ; and if — well, of course, it's impos-
102 A very Strange Accident.
sible, you know ; and no doubt he's under
the care of some big fish."
" I wish you could get the chance to try
your skill, my dear. You are clever in all
branches of your noble work ; but if you
have a specialite, it is with spinal com-
plaints. And I sometimes think, in your
and many other callings, the younger blood
brings fresher knowledge and bolder moves ;
less in a groove.''
" Just so, Kose. Now, I suspect, for one
thing, that young Glen-Luna has been kept
too everlastingly reclining — reclining till he
is worn and wearied to death, and the whole
general health sinks and gradually gives
way. He is colourless as a marble statue,
and as delicately chiselled. He is a very
slight-built man, I could see ; but it's more
than that. He is wasted ; his features, his
hands are as delicate as a woman's. Cut
down like that at thirty ! Heaven ! it
must be killing the man by inches ! Eose,
if I could have him for a patient, I
A very Strange Accident, 103
would stake my whole reputation on this
" Darling Chandos ! how your enthusiasm
does me good to see ! " said Eose, kiss-
ing the broad clear brow so like her own.
" Surely your noble wish will be granted in
" I don't know." He got up and
began pacing to and fro the long room ;
for it was after dinner, and they were
in the drawing-room. " We seldom get
our wishes, I think. Bah ! " said he,
ruffling up his curly locks impatiently.
" I'm a great fool, Kose. I cannot get
that man's face or voice out of my
" Don't try, Chandos," said Miss Neville,
with a quiet smile, as her eyes rested on the
handsome, earnest face of the physician ;
" for you are far too tender-hearted ever to
grow callous or fail to feel, even suffer, in
** I daresay you are right, Kose ; you
I04 A very Strange Accident.
always are, dear. Ha ! what's that ? What
a peal at the bell ! "
So there was, and some vehicle had
stopped at the gate. The next moment
a man's voice at the door asked quickly if
Dr Neville was at home.
Chandos stepped out into the hall at
once, Eose behind him, catching a glimpse
over his shoulder of a groom in dark blue
and silver livery.
*' I am Dr Neville. Who wants me ? "
"Mrs Albany, sir, up at Luna Hall, sent
me off with a trap to fetch you back to Mr
Glen-Luna. There was an accident with
the lift, just at the top, and the master
hurt. It would have been a much worse
jerk, sir, only Mrs Albany was beside his
chair on the lift, and the moment some-
thing broke, and it ran up too quick, she
throwed one arm round his shoulder to save
him from the danger, and with the other
caught the gallery rail, sir. Then she and
Harford got the chair off, and lifted the
A very Strange Accident. 105
master on to a sofa in his dressing-room ;
and then he swooned dead o£f, sir, with the
pain, for it shook him, you see, terrible.
Mrs Albany just looked at me, and says,
' Fetch Dr Neville, Marston.' "
" I'll join you directly."
He vanished into his little surgery at the
back for a few moments, and came back
with a small valise.
"' Good-bye, sister Eose. I am ready,
Chandos Neville only asked a few ques-
tions on the short drive.
" Where were Sir Arthur and the ladies ? "
The groom answered that they had gone
over to dine at Colonel Eosslyn's place,
some ten miles off, and were not even ex-
pected back that night.
" You see, sir, it was like this," explained
Marston, who was Douglas's own groom.
" In the evening Mr Douglas and Mrs
Albany (that is his new secretary) was out
in the gardens, she pushing the chair, and
To6 A very Strange Accident,
they came round to the stables, 'cause, sir,
he wanted to show her his Arab, Hassan,
that she's to ride. Well, sir, after they'd
gone back to the west wing, where his
rooms and hers are, you know, I picked up
a beautiful gold brooch I had noticed in her
lace kerchief. So I just took it round myself
to give her, and when I stepped into the
west hall door, there was Harford at the top
working up the lift, and they in it. I ran up
the stairs, and had got up beside Harford
(that's Mr Douglas's courier, sir), when the
lift came half way to the level, and then
something below gave way, as I said, and
up it ran awful. It's a good chance I was
there, too, because I took the gear from Har-
ford and held the lift as Mrs Albany stopped
it, and Harford helped Mrs Albany — who is,
sir, the greatest brick ! " said the groom en-
thusiastically, " if you'll pardon me. Most
women would ha' screamed, and never held
him as she did ; but though she went as
white as death — for I'm sure in that hor-
A very Strange Accident. 107
rible minute we all thought the whole thing
was going to rush up and smash them both
to death — she never moved a muscle or
flinched one hair's-breadth. And strong —
Lord, sir, she is wonderful nerve and strength
for a woman ! To see how she gripped the
chair ! And I verily believe that if Will
Harford hadn't been there, she'd ha' man-
aged to lift him on to the sofa all herself."
"■ She looks that sort of brave woman,"
said the physician. " I met them ^ut
this morniug. Ah, here we are, thank
Heaven ! "
Another servant was at the open west
wing door, under orders, on the look-out,
and at once conducted the welcome, anxiously
looked-for visitant up to the floor above,
and to the door of the salon, where Harford,
hearing steps, met them, with a glad look
of recognition and deep-breathed " Thank
God! you're come, sir!"
And he led him into the elegant dressing-
room. There, on a wide, low couch, lay
io8 A very Strange Accident.
that graceful form, the beautiful head lying
on Gabrielle's left arm, as she knelt beside
him, her own firm, steadfast face scarcely-
less deathly than the one over which she
bent, as she kept softly passing the right
hand, wet with fragrant eau de Cologne, over
temples and brow and round the lips, wetting
even the silky moustache that shaded them.
" An invaluable nurse, I can see ! " said
the relieved doctor, stooping down to listen
to the sufferer s breathing. " Has he re-
vived or spoken at all, Mrs Albany ? "
•' We got him round a little after the
first painful agony had done its work," she
answered quietly ; " but he was not fully
conscious, for the only word he spoke audibly
showed that he took me for his own dead
mother. Then he relapsed again, I think
from sheer exhaustion. His teeth were
set, his hands clenched with agony, when
he swooned. I don't think he is entirely
The physician took up one of those slender
A very Strange Accident. 109
hands in his own soft palm, and laid one
finger on the wrist ; then shook his head,
and turned to his valise.
" Yes," he said ; " we must get back full
consciousness before I can see what mischief
is done. A little water in that small wine
glass, please, Harford."
Harford obeyed gladly, and held the glass
for Neville, while he produced a vial from
his case, and dropped some of its contents
into the water." ^
" Thanks ! Kaise his head higher, please,
She simply lifted it from her arm to her
" Try if he knows your voice enough to
In the same quiet way, like one resolutely
suppressing intense feeling, she took the
glass and held it to the bloodless lips,
bending her head lower as she deliber-
ately made use of the illusion she had
no A very Strange Accident.
" Drink this, Douglas, for your mother's
sake ! "
Closed, indeed, must be the ear into which
that low, pathetic voice of tender music
could not penetrate, winged with the one
sacred name of a thousand halos, to which
no agony, mental or physical, can ever
entirely deafen the ear or numb the heart
- — " Mother ! " The heavily-fringed eyelids
quivered, the lips parted a little as the
glass touched them ; in a minute she gave
Chandos back the empty glass.
" You are a magician ! " he said, smiling.
" Keep him as he is, please ; unless you are
She glanced keenly up in the fine face,
with its bright, full, hazel eyes, and sweet,
firm mouth, and half smiled.
" I should not be wearied, if you wished
me to keep your patient like this all night.
I am a tireless nurse."
"I believe thatl' said Neville, and then
stood with folded arms, watching in anxious
A very Strange Accident. 1 1 1
silence for the effect of the powerful re-
storative he had administered. Only a few
moments of such suspense, and then a sharp
shiver went through the whole frame, and
one hand was moved restlessly, as if seek-
ing something. Gabrielle laid hers in it at
once, and his fingers closed round it closely,
with a long-drawn breath over the lips,
which, if faint, was still one of relief; still
half unconscious, he knew at least that that
was the touch he sought.
" Is she— safe ? God ! Not killed—
to save me ! " The dark eyes opened
suddenly, with an almost wild look of
horror. " I thought — and then that awful
agony — "
If that beautiful woman's heart ached and
throbbed with bitter, sudden pain, dull and
vague, who knew it but herself as she said
" Hush, I am safe. You are resting
against me now, and holding my hand —
112 A very Strange Accident.
" All ! — it is her voice — or — my mother's
— she called me just now — "
Dr Neville took up a bottle of salts, and
bent down, holding it cautiously, just
within inhaling distance. A fear possessed
him that the physical shock and agony had
possibly not let the sensitive brain escape
"Are you in pain now? Some pillows,
There was no answer to the question, but
there was a start at the strange voice,
gentle as it was — probably what the clever
doctor meant. He waited a moment until
the pillows were placed to his liking, and
then said, smiling, —
" Now, nurse, lay him back."
"It will disturb him, Dr Neville, if I
loose my left hand; he has it so tight."
"Exactly what I want; he must be
" Eh bien, monsieur."
She drew her hand free with some diffi-
A very Strange Accident. 1 1 3
culty, and gently laid him against the
pillows, laying her hand on his brow a
The movement, the touch, had the desired
effect, for he started again, shivered and
opened his eyes, once more with a strange
look that, going from face to face, half
puzzled and pained, a gradual recognition
growing slowly, as it came back to hers
with a sweet, restful look that made Chan-
dos draw a deep breath of relief. •
" Ah, forgive ; I am not worth such
" You know your nurse, then ? " said the
A moment's pause, but the hand sought
and clasped hers again ; then the low»
languid tones answered, —
" Yes, oh yes ; and Harford — "
'' Not me yet, eh ? "
The drooping lids and sweeping lashes
were lifted a moment.
*' Yes, we met you — to-day."
VOL. I. H
114 A very Strange Accident,
"Eight; I am Dr Neville. Are you in
pain now ? "
" Not much."
" A dull aching % " said Chandos, who had
to an extraordinary degree that rare and
invaluable gift to the physician of exactly
hitting upon the patient's suffering, " such
as comes after a fearful wrench ? "
" Drink this before we go further."
He mixed a little brandy and water in
the wine-glass and gave it to Gabrielle.
Douglas drank it. He only knew the
fierce agony he had suffered, though per-
haps both tender nurse and physician could
nearly gauge it by the force of the almost
instant deadly swoon and frightful ex-
haustion following. As Gabrielle replaced
the empty glass, Neville said, in a low
*' I will see now, Mrs Albany, whether
this accident has done more than cause
cruel pain and exhaust strength, if you will
A very Strange Accident, 1 1 5
kindly wait in the next room till I come or
call you. Your courage and promptness
has saved him."
The colour flushed her cheek for a mo-
ment, but she only bowed her head and
glided away, closing the door between the
two apartments. As she passed Harford,
Dr Neville saw the two exchange a look
that puzzled and haunted him long after-
wards. What could it mean ?
SISTER rose's words COME TRUE.
HEN Chandos Neville came out
into the salon, Mrs Albany was
standing by the furthest win-
dow, in the full flood of moonlight, her
hands locked loosely before her ; her face,
with all its world of passion and power
beneath the statuesque surface, half uplifted,
the great dark eyes looking out with a
far-ofi" gaze that saw only the gloom and
shadows of her ill-starred life — perhaps
already the deeper, darkest misery of all
that was creeping slow and deathlike upon
her ! But the whole attitude and expres-
sion of face and form struck him very pain-
Sister Rosens Words come True. 117
fully. So young still — looking almost a
girl — what had been her life, her marriage ?
had she ever cared for the husband from
whom she was separated ?
" Well," she said, turning quickly to him,
with an instant change of the mobile face,
" what is your opinion ? "
^' That your prompt action has saved him
from at least being crippled for life, Mrs
Albany. That, after a very close and care-
ful examination, I am satisfied thaf no
further permanent injury has been added to
that originally done by the railway accident ;
and a few days' care and rest will restore
him to his usual strength."
" Thank God."
She turned aside abruptly for a minute,
pressing her small hands on her heaving
breast, almost giving way in the sudden
relief from deadly suspense ; shaken, too,
herself more than she thought by the shock
and strain on her strength, as the physician
ii8 Sister Rose's Words come True,
"You need some care yourself," he said
quietly ; but she interrupted him.
" No, no ! Hush ! Not me ! Tell me
what you wish done for him."
" He must not be moved from where he
is till I come to-morrow morning. He has
on his robe de chambre now, and will do
very well for the night. I hope he will sleep
quietly. There is no need for either you or
Harford to sit up ; but if he will sleep in
the dressing-room too, and you somewhere
within easy call — "
" My apartments are just opposite these,"
she interposed; "and there is bell com-
munication between all these rooms and
mine and the courier's, and I am a very
light sleeper. But let me sit up in here."
" Certainly not ! I do not at all think
he will swoon again, or have any return of
that frightful agony or exhaustion conse-
quent upon it ; but if there is, give him,
yourself, a repetition of the dose you saw
Sister Rose's Words come True, 1 1 9
" You will come up early, Dr Neville ? "
" I will, indeed. I will remain here all
night if you wish it, Mrs Albany."
" You are too kind ! No ; not as you
think it unnecessary. I suppose you know
about the accident ? "
"From Harford; yes. Poor young
fellow ! It would be the greatest happi-
ness — " He stopped ; bit his lip, and al-
most abruptly held out his hand. " Good-
night, then, Mrs Albany." •
But, instead of giving him her hand, she
laid it on his arm detaining him.
*' Pardon me ! " she said steadily. " I
have been watching you and taking note
ever since you came. I had heard that you
were very clever, and I fully believe it.
Dr Neville, I am going to speak plainly in
the very strongest interest of that man
lying in that room, and I entreat you to
answer me as plainly — setting aside all
motives of professional etiquette and de-
licacy which would usually hold you silent,
I20 Sister Rose's Words come True.
as absolutely as I do ; all those considera-
tions and fears of the world which would
make most women shrink from the position
I hold here, and which I do not intend to
resign unless Mr Glen-Luna himself, in
whose service I am, wishes it."
" Mrs Albany, I admire your moral cour-
age as I do your physical bravery," said
Chandos warmly. " Speak as you will ; I
will answer if I can."
" Thank you ! Well, it needs hardly to
tell you that no expense has been spared on
Sir Arthurs only son; no science left un-
tried ; and yet he is still no further than you
see. There is something that none of your
faculty have quite mastered in this case.
They admit it. They have kept him more
or less lying down — the mind restless,
fretted — a physician must know the whole
truth. Left cruelly to himself, when he
should have had at least one tender, de-
voted companion — it has acted on the phy-
sique, and the general strength and health
Sister Roses Words come True, 1 2 1
have suffered." The physician stood now
with very grave brow and downcast eyes,
listening intently. *' The great and very
experienced in any profession sometimes
fall into grooves where the younger, more
vigorous blood strikes out some bolder path
or more daring venture. You start ! "
" Pardon me — did I ? My sister's very
words to-night, when we were speaking of
" Ha ! you were ? — and the answer you
gave her — "
" Mrs Albany ! " Chandos Neville flushed
to his brow and drew back a step, but she
laid both her hands on his with a grasp
more like a man's than a woman's.
" Dr Neville, if you think, from your
examination just now, that you can make
Douglas Glen-Luna what he was, in heaven's
name speak out, and on me be the charge."
The passionate force of the woman, that
in its grand earnestness absolutely flung
aside self and what he might think, bore
122 Sister Roses Words come True.
all hesitation on his part before it, and
made it even seem to him cowardice before
her courage. He looked up, his eyes aglow.
" Mrs Albany, forgive me ; you shame
me. Under heaven, I believe I can restore
him to all the perfect beauty and strength
which that heaven gave him ! I believe
I have found the very seat of the injury
done, which has been hitherto missed, and
I dare now repeat emphatically to you and
him — the answer I gave my sister this
evening — I will willingly stake my whole
reputation on this case."
He so flung the power of his own con-
viction into her, as some doctors do, it was
so much more than she had dared to hope,
that she gave way for a moment, and
covered her face.
When she faced him again, the long
lashes were still wet ; the dark eyes met
his with almost an appealiug look that
" Forgive my weakness. I have only
Sister Rosens Words come True, 123
been two days under this roof. I am noth-
ing but his paid servant as much as Harford
— less, indeed, for he has served his master
for years, I only hours, and yet — "
" Nay — yet — you are ^ nurse and he —
patient, helpless," said Chandos quietly.
" Ay, that is it. I am only a woman,
Dr Neville," with a faint smile, "and it
made my very heart ache to see a young
strong man cut down, laid low ; wrecked for
life, dependent for so much on others — (5h
me — helpless. I thought till I came here
that I had grown hard, as well as reckless
of the world."
She paused a moment, and then added,
regaining her usual manner with an effort, —
" What I say I know he himself will
ratify to-morrow, and to Sir Arthur all
his son does is right ! From this hour,
Dr Neville, that son is in your hands."
He bowed gravely over the hand he held,
and touched his lips to it.
" Till to-morrow, then, Mrs Albany, au
124 Sister Roses Words come True,
revoir. No, do not ring for a servant ; I
know my way just down to that hall."
" Marston is waiting there to drive you
home, but — ah, here comes Harford."
As Chandos Neville went out, the courier
" Would you mind stepping in to Mr
Douglas, madam, for he asked me just now
— as I thought he was going off so nicely —
— whether I was quite sure you weren't
" I was just going in for a minute, Har-
ford. Just show Dr Neville down to the
dog-cart, and come back here."
Chandos followed Harford, Gabrielle
passed noiselessly into the dressing-room,
with its lowered lights, and soft summer
air fanning in, laden with the mingled scent
of flowers and eau de Cologne.
Douglas was lying so still, with averted
face, that she almost hoped he slept, but
no ; the head was turned languidly to her,
with a faint, glad smile on the lips, and in
Sister Rose's Words come True. 125
the wide open, tired eyes that looked up into
hers as she bent over him.
" Now, you see that I am quite unhurt,
and you must try to sleep ; you are worn
" I am tired ; oh, so tired ! I think, per-
haps, too weary to sleep."
" Then see, I must try what my art as
nurse can do. Does your head ache ? "
" A little."
She perfectly wetted both her hands with
the cool essence of Cologne, and once more
kneeling down beside him, laid one hand
in his, and kept passing the other slowly,
lightly across the broad brow, and under
the rich bronze locks that curled so thickly
above it. Did she know then, or did he,
the magic of her touch, her presence ? Ah
me, no, it was felt, not seen, subtle, intangi-
ble, unrecognised, but there already as
surely as the blue sea tosses, and knows not
its own passionate surging depths. The
painful wakefulness of over-weariness was
126 Sister Roses Words come True,
fain forced to yield to such a spell of might
as this, and the patient nurse, the tender
woman, had her reward soon ; the dark
eyes closed, the chiselled lips settled rest-
fully, the fingers that had closed over hers
relaxed, and he lay asleep, just breathing
softly in all the unconscious grace and
beauty of a most perfect statue — but a
statue endowed with the marvellous gift of
life and immortality.
Then she softly stole away into the next
room, carefully closing the door of com-
William Harford was standing there,
waiting for her, and for a minute each
faced the other with the same look that
had so puzzled Chandos Neville. Each
perfectly understood the other, but neither
chose to put thought or suspicion into
precise words, though the man spoke
" Mrs Albany, if that gear, wherever the
fault in it was, had given way entirely, both
Sister Rose's Words come True, 127
you and the master would have been dashed
to pieces against the roof."
** I know that, Harford."
It hardly seemed the same voice and face
that had spoken, and bent so soothingly, so
tenderly, with such sweet womanliness, to
the sleeper in the next room ; so stern and
set voice and face now, as the few words
fell that to him said such a volume.
" I know it, Harford."
" I have telegraphed already to the man
in town who made this," added the courier,
" to come at once and put entirely new gear
to the lift, and the same extraordinary acci-
dent will not occur again. You know, I
suppose, Mrs Albany " — the man asked this
abruptly — " who is the next heir or successor
to the master ? "
*'I never heard yet," said Gabrielle
" You can guess ! "
*' Will you say, Mrs Albany ? "
128 Sister Roses Words come True.
" Shall I tell you ? "
" If you like."
" Lady Glen-Luna's daughter, Jessica."
She made no answer to that, only stood
looking at him. He spoke again in another
" Mrs Albany, you won't leave Mr
Douglas, will you ? '
" Leave ! certainly not ; why should I,
unless he himself dismisses me ? "
*' He'll never do that, madam ; but," the
man moved uneasily now, and dropped
his keen eyes, " pardon me ; I'm a man
over forty, and you are married, or I
shouldn't venture — "
" Go on, good, faithful Harford."
" Well, ma'am, you see — those detestable
village gossips will talk of you being here,
you know, and pull you to pieces — most
ladies in your place would take fright and
" I shall not, Harford, if they said the
Sister Rose's Words come True. 129
very worst that scandal can invent," said
Albany's wife calmly, — '' not because I hold
my name lightly, or am hard, or over reck-
less, but because, even if no interest kept
me here, I despise village doings too utterly
to care what they say ; they are nothing to
me. And there is every interest to keep
me here ; we are one. Are you satisfied ? "
" Quite, thank you, Mrs Albany."
No more was said ; they parted in silence
— those two who were in Douglas Glen-
Luna's service — and so the night of that
terrible day ended.
BEHOLD, A LITTLE CLOUD ARISETH NOW,
LIKE UNTO A MAN's HAND.
T is very rarely in this life that
our most earnest hopes are ful-
filled, our dearest wishes realised.
I suppose because our finite humanity, only
** seeing through a glass darkly," too often
yearns for that which our all-seeing Creator
knows is not for our highest good. Quern
Deus amat castigat. But sometimes, though
it so falls to very few, the very thing which
though wished for, seemed most absolutely
beyond reach, rises up before us — not a
chimaera or wild dream — but a fact, a reality,
actually in our grasp. So it was now with
Behold, a Little Cloud ariseth, etc. 131
Chandos Neville, and it calls for no very
unusually dramatic or sympathetic nature
to understand, or sympathise with, the even
passionate joy of a man whose whole high
earnest soul and large-hearted nature were
in his noble profession, who suddenly finds
his greatest, yet most hopeless, wish gained.
The lights still shone from the dining-
room windows when he reached home, and
his sister was sitting up for him.
" Rose ! You naughty Sister Rose." *
" I was too anxious to sleep, dear, but
your face tells me good news — some more
than usual news," she added, as the bright
gas-light fell full on his face.
He put both arms round his sister, and
dropped his head on her shoulder. The
strong man was trembling like a child.
** Oh, Rose, I am so happy ! my wish is
Beyond the fervent reverence of those
two words no other passed her lips till, after
132 Behold, a Little Cloud ariseth, etc,
a few minutes stillness, he lifted himself,
with one deep-drawn breath, and drew
" You always know how I feel, Rose, and
feel with me."
Chandos drew her to her arm-chair again,
and, seating himself on one of its arms,
" You remember what we were talking
of this evening, Sister Eose ? "
'* Yes, my dear."
" Rose, Douglas Glen-Luna is my patient
henceforth ; Mrs Albany has placed him
absolutely in my hands. Ah ! I tell you
that woman is a heroine, in the fullest,
grandest sense of the word."
" Tell me all about it, Chandos."
She listened with the silence of deepest
interest to his account of his new patient
and his attendant, and the accident which
had been so nearly a terribly fatal one to
Oddly enough her words, as he concluded,
Behold, a Little Cloud ariseth, etc, 133
were exactly those Gabrielle had said of her
— " I should like to know her."
The ormolu clock struck one as she spoke,
and she rose up.
" See, dear ; it is time we both retired.
How early shall you drive over to the
" About nine o'clock," Dr Neville an-
swered, bolting up shutter and door. " I
wonder how the accident happened ; it
was so very extraordinary."
" Did not Mrs Albany or the courier seem
to know ?" asked Miss Neville, as the two
went upstairs together.
" I don't think so," said Chandos slowly,
" but I am puzzled. I have a queer fancy.
I saw such an odd look pass between those
two. I think they have some suspicion
" Perhaps one of the servants has been
meddling with the lift."
" It may be ; if any one has, they must
have felt pleasant when it gave way with
134 Behold^ a Little Cloud arisetk, etc.
those two lives upon it," said the doctor
dryly. " Good night, Eose."
He kissed his sister, and turned into his
room ; and his dreams were a strange jumble
of broken lifts, and some one stopping him in
a lane to fetch him to save some one from
being murdered, and when he went he found
himself amidst a thick darkness, and a crowd
surging wildly to and fro, crying out where,
in Heaven's name, were Douglas Glen-Luna
and Gabrielle. And then there came a
heavy knocking somewhere, which woke the
dreamer with a start — and, lo ! the house-
maid was tapping at the door, and telling
him it was half-past seven, and his hot-
water was outside.
An hour and a-half later, the physician's
pretty brougham — for he kept one besides
his trap — drew up at the west wing door
of Luna Hall, and he was at once admitted.
" Thanks ! I know the way," he said, as
the servant was about to precede him ; and
up the wide staircase he went, two at a
Behold, a Little Cloud ariseth^ etc. 135
time, through the salon, and tapped at the
" Come in ! " said Gabrielle's soft voice,
and as he entered she met him with a glad
smile and warm hand- clasp of welcome.
Douglas was lying back on the couch,
from which, according to orders, he yet had
not been stirred ; his head turned a little
aside, his eyes closed — too prostrate, it
seemed, for even a movement of restless-
ness. But it was evident every sense was
keenly alive, for the moment Neville en-
tered the head turned, and it was good to
see the bright light of pleasure that banished
the languor from the beautiful grey eyes, as
the hand was stretched out. Surely there
is something much to sweeten the anxious
care and often terrible responsibility of the
medical profession, especially to such a man
as Chandos Neville ; and he is no fancy or
very unusual a picture either.
" You look much too colourless and lan-
guid," he said, smiling : and his smile, like
136 Behold y a Little Cloud ariseth, etc.
his whole manner, was gentle, cheering,
bright yet mellowed — a man whose mere
presence in a sick-room seemed to bring
light and relief to both nurse and patient.
" How have yon slept ? "
" Well enough, thank you ! I am better."
" What does nurse say ? "
The dark eyes turned on her with such
a look, and then a heavy sigh.
" Ah ! sweet nurse ! What a trouble and
anxiety I am to you all ! "
Her soft fingers were laid on his lips, with
the sweet, chiding tenderness with which we
touch a child.
'* Hush, or I shall scold you ! May we
move him at all, Dr Neville ? Ah ! pardon ;
you cannot tell yet. I will send Harford to
you, and you will find me in the next room.'*
Mrs Albany rang the bell, and passed out
as Harford was entering from the corridor.
" Madam, Mr Boyd himself has just come
to see to the lift. Will you see him your-
Behold^ a Little Cloud arisetk, etc. 137
"Yes, Harford, while you attend to Mr
Douglas. Is Mr Boyd in the hall ? "
" Yes, madam ; with one of his men."
" Cest hien ! We shall take care no
such accident happens again ! " she said
in French, and went downstairs.
** Good morning, madam ! I hope I am
not too early," began Mr Boyd, wondering
who this handsome lady was ; '' but the
telegram was so urgent, that I thought I
had better take the last train down o"^er
night, and stop in Doring."
" Quite right. I am obliged to you for
your prompt answer to my summons. A
most unaccountable and nearly fatal acci-
dent happened to the lift last evening while
Mr Glen-Luna and myself were ascending
by it ; for as we came half way up to
the gallery something in the gear below
suddenly gave way, and the lift ran
up. When did you last examine this
machine ? "
" Only one month ago, madam ; my own
138 Behold^ a Little Cloud ariseth, etc,
self, because naturally Sir Arthur is so
particular over it."
" Well, and was it then sound ? "
" As sound as a bell, madam ! I will
swear that, if it was my last word. Why,
ma'am, the whole thing was put up new
only a year ago, and as perfect as skill and
money could make it. Sir Arthur spared
no expense, and we no skill. Why, all the
chains and gear was made double strong !
If I didn't see the thing there, I'd never
have believed it could have happened like
this. I can't make it out."
" Nor I ! " said Mrs Albany quietly.
*' Look at the machinery, and tell me what
the mischief is, if you can."
She stood by while the two men bent down,
watching them, as motionless as a statue, save
for the quick, short heave of her breast be-
neath the firm, delicate hands folded over it.
So watching, she saw the two men sud-
denly look at each other, each with a quick,
low " Whew— w— "
Behold, a Little Cloud arisetk, etc. 139
"Well?" said Gabrielle Albany, as Mr
Boyd was erect again.
" It's just this, madam. The machinery
has been damaged in some unaccountable
way — perhaps roughly used. It is not
safe now ; it don't need to be a mechanic
to see this."
"It is most extraordinary ! " she said ;
*' but of course Sir Arthur will sift it to the
bottom when he returns. Meanwhile, Mr
Glen-Luna wishes you to thoroughly ex-
amine the whole machine, lest there may
be any other damage done. If you consider
it in the least necessary, or even advisable,
the whole thing must come down and be
refitted. I am Mr Glen-Luna's secretary,
and fully empowered to give you orders."
Mr Boyd bowed very low, and Gabrielle
returned to the salon, leaving them to their
work of inspection.
Dr Neville was waiting for her.
" I am still of the same opinion, Mrs
Albany. There is no further permanent
140 Behold, a Little Cloud ariseth, etc,
injury done, and I think, with a few days
of care and quiet, we shall get rid of the
prostration consequent on the shock and
agony he suffered. Keep away everything
and every one that can fret him. I want
both body and that tiresome, restless brain
of his kept perfectly quiet, for to-day at any
rate ; and if" — Chandos smiled — '' you can
by any arts witch him into sleep presently,
" No one shall come near him but myself
and Harford, Dr Neville," said Gabrielle
firmly ; " and you will call in again
to-day ? "
" Certainly — this evening."
*' And of course I am not to tell him
what passed between us last night, until
he has recovered his strength ? "
" I must leave that a good deal to your,
I know, unerring judgment, Mrs Albany ;
for if you find him fretting about that very
thing, as is very likely, tell him what you
Behold^ a Little Cloud ariseth, etc. 141
"You shall be obeyed like a veritable
autocrat," she said, smiling a little. " I
shall not leave him except for a few
minutes even when the family come home.
Ah ! what is this ? "
A footman with a telegram.
" For you, if you please, madam," he said,
" One moment, Dr Neville. Ah, thank
Heaven, they are not coming back till
It was from Lady Glen-Luna, to say that
the Eosslyns would not hear of their return
till Monday (this being Saturday).
" The best thing that could possibly have
happened," said Chandos. " We shall have
our charge driving out again by then, I hope.
Good-bye till evening, Mrs Albany."
He shook hands and vanished just as
Harford entered. Gabrielle gave him the
" I am more glad than I can say, Mrs
Albany ; though, of course, you would not
142 Behold, a Little Cloud ariseth, etc.
have allowed them to see the master. And
about the lift, madam ? "
" Harford, Boyd's positive opinion con-
firms our worst suspicions."
The man looked up, and their eyes met.
*' You mean," he said, under his breath,
and put one hand on her arm, " that it is
true beyond doubt that the machinery has
been tampered with f "
They stood facing each other in dead
silence, which neither broke for some
seconds. Then the courier dropped his
hand, and said slowly, —
" We understand each other perfectly
then, Mrs Albany ? "
" Yes — perfectly, Harford."
The man went through the ante-room ; the
woman passed as noiselessly into the dressing-
room, and paused beside the couch on which
that stricken, prostrate form of beauty lay.
Hearts feel that love thee ! — hearts feel
that love thee 1 Ah, me, for the little cloud
that ariseth like unto a man's hand !
CHAPTER XI I.
GIVING A DIAMOND.
ABMELLE paused beside that
couch; bent over the helpless
form, and said quietly, —
" They are not coming back till Monday."
A quick-drawn breath, an instant look of
intense relief in the dark, tired eyes that
" I am so glad ! But you would not have
let them come up ? "
*' No ! You are to be kept very quiet to-
day, and see no one."
" Except my dear nurse ! They mean it
all kindly," Douglas added, as if in explana-
tion ; " but they make such a fuss. You
1 44 Giving a Diamond.
know what I mean. I am absurd, over-
sensitive, morbid ; but, still — "
Still, still, he was a man ; and the very
pride of his manhood, that glories in its rich
strength, shrank in horrible dread from
notice and ejffusive pity in his sufferings,
even when it was sincere. His stepmother
and sister at all times jarred on every chord
of the finely-attuned instrument, and now
every sensitive nerve had been quivering
at the mere thought of their coming near
him ; while this woman, who had come into
his crushed, hopeless life like a strain of
most wondrous music, soothed by her mere
"■ Still ! " Gabrielle repeated, laying her
cool hand on his brow. " I perfectly under-
stand you ; but you must give this brain
rest, and not think."
"Not think! "he said. "Not think I of
what I was, and what I am — of the living
death that all my future will be. My God !
but for your precious life I wish the lift
Giving a Diamond, 145
had crashed to the bottom, and dashed me
" Hush ! Oh, hush ! " It so wrung her
heart, that only the strongest mastery of a
strong will forced back the tide of emotion
that for one second had almost broken down-
self-control, as she knelt down at his side,
clasping his hand with hands that trembled.
*' I cannot bear that from you, when — "
" Forgive me, dear Mrs Albany ! For-
give me such a selfish outburst of misery !
I am weak, unmanned to-day, I think. " I
forgot myself quite. I am beaten down
utterly in spirits ! "
'' Hush ! Listen to me ! " said Gabrielle,
with one imperative hand on his lips for a
minute. "I see that it is best to give you
something happier to think of, since I can-
not arrest thought, even by sleep."
Douglas turned his head sharply, so as to
bring his searching gaze full on her face ;
and his hand closed almost convulsively on
hers, as she still knelt.
VOL. I. %.
1 46 Giving a Diamond.
" You will have to forgive me before-
hand," she said, smiling now, though her
lips quivered, "for taking a liberty with
your name, and pledging you to ratify
something I have done."
• " It can only be right if you did it, what-
ever it is."
" My pardon is signed, sealed, and de-
livered then, Mr Douglas. Well," she laid
one hand now on his shoulder, fearful lest
he should start half up or make some sudden
movement at her words ; "I spoke to Dr
Neville last night, and he thinks there is
some hope for you!"
The blood rushed to Douglas's bronzed
cheeks, and she felt him quiver under her
hand ; but the next minute he was deathly
pale again, and shook his head.
" No, no 1 They have all said that at
first, Mrs Albany."
" There is ! " she said steadily. " I
forced him to throw aside the professional
etiquette that held him silent, and answer
Giving a Diamond. 147
plainly my question whether he thought,
from his recent examination, that he could
do you any good. I will give you his
answer, in his own more than earnest words.
'Under Heaven, I believe I can restore
him to all the perfect strength which that
Heaven gave him. I believe I have found
the very seat of the injury done, which has
hitherto been missed; and I dare now re-
peat emphatically what I said to my sister
— that I will willingly stake my whole re-
putation on this case ! ' "
Such a dazzling blaze of glorious sunlight
in the darkness, such a rush of mighty
waters over the arid land, that manhood's
proudest barriers gave way, and the man
suddenly buried his face in the cushions
with such a deep, passionate burst of emo-
tion, as laid all check or control powerless
for many seconds; and Gabrielle neither
spoke nor moved till the soft voice came
148 Giving a Diamond.
*' Forgive my weakness. I try you so
cruelly. I, who owe you life, and now —
" Hush, hush ! You owe me nothing,"
she said, and quietly lifted his head to turn
the cushions. " There now, you must keep
very quiet," and, patting the curling locks,
with a smile, " be my own good boy, or the
poor nurse will fear she has done wrong to
" Ah! no, no, dear, sweetest nurse ! And
now you have not told me what it is I have
to ratify r'
Exhausted he might be, physically ; but
she saw that she had done wisely to put
even slight hope for despair, sweet for
bitter, light for darkness.
" Only this, Mr Douglas. I told Dr
Neville that from that minute you were
entirely in his hands."
'^ Thank you."
He drew her hand to his lips, and kissed
it with deep chivalrous reverence ; then
Giving a Diamond, I49
closed his eyes, saying quietly that he was
very tired, and would try to sleep, because
she wished it.
When Chandos Neville called in the
evening he found his new patient markedly
better ""and stronger, though still languid,
and he asked Mrs Albany how soon the lift
would be in order. She told him that an
entirely new one from Mr Boyd's factory
was to be sent on Monday, and fixed with
some extra strong machinery.
"Which I told her was quite unneces-
sary," said Douglas, smiling; ''for Boyd
says that this one is sound, he believes,
but she and Harford have put their heads
together, and don't care one bit what I
" I may be over fanciful," said Gabrielle,
^^ but it is a fault on the right side.^ I
would never again see you in tUs lift with-
out fear and dread of some other undis-
Both men looked at her, both vaguely
1 50 Giving a Diamond,
struck by something in her voice of which
perhaps she was scarcely conscious ; but she
smiled brightly the next moment, and
turned the subject.
" You have not yet ratified my words,
Mr Douglas, so I'll leave you to do so."
And, putting down the book she had
been reading to him when Neville entered,
she went out of the room.
A new lift would, she felt sure, make all
safe in that quarter. She had not much
fear of a second " accident " with the
machine. It would look too suspicious, and
be fraught with too much danger to the
hand that wrought the evil.
It is a terrible thing to hav6 a venomous
serpent at the very hearth.
EAR me ! how all Doring talked
and gossiped over the new doc-
tor and new secretary, and the
accident at the Hall, even as it dressed
and walked to church or meeting-house
that Sunday. Of course it knew for a
positive fact, my dear, everything that had
(not) happened, and could state on the
authority of everybody (not) concerned
every word that could not possibly have
been uttered. The poor little wee bits of
truth that looked out might have cried out
like the lamp-posts in our streets, " Where
I ! " They knew
152 Sunday Morning.
that "that Mrs Albany" had sent oiF, post
haste, for the swell London doctor, who
had, after all, only come for a few months,
while Mr Parker was away, and in conse-
quence Mrs Doctor Orde went to church in
a state of bitter piety that made her feel
with intense morality that she was a
straightforward, plain (as she was, heaven
knows) married woman, and Mrs Leicester
Albany \ nobody knew what !
Gossip wondered that Sunday morning
whether either she or " those Nevilles "
would show in church at all. Of course
they would at St Agnes the Martyr. The
Hall was High Church from time imme-
morial, and of course they would do in
Turkey as the Turkeys did ; though no
doubt the London doctor was an infidel,
soaked with modern scientific unbeliefs,
and " that foreigner " — a Papist — if, in-
deed, she was anything at all.
So those of the coterie who, like Mrs
Doctor Orde, were evangelical, sailed into
Sunday Morning, 153
their pews at St Luke's in all the agonies
of ignorance for two hours, even as to what
sort of bonnet or hat the new comer would
wear, and the worst suspicions that Mrs
Winstanley and some others would know
that important point before they could do
so, which was the fact, for Mrs W., passing
down the aisle, saw Mrs Albany still kneel-
ing in^ nearly the last rows of chairs, and,
dear me ! she wore the very same dark
silk dress and dashing plumed hat in which
she had driven through the town on Friday.
And outside, at the churchyard gate (for
St Agnes's was the beautiful old parish
church) actually stood a dainty victoria in
charge of Mr Glen-Luna's own man, Mars-
ton. Upon my word ! Was madam too
grand to walk back across the park ? And
there was Dr Neville, too — waiting for her,
of course — though he had ridden up to the
Hall early that day "; the gardener's boy had
seen him. Mrs Winstanley's eye is upon
them while she affects to be waiting about
154 Sunday Morning,
for Mrs Orde to pass. Ah ! the doctor's
face lights up — he sees her — no, it is only
his sister who joins him ; but, almost as
he stops, the tall, graceful figure followed
— came up, as they evidently waited for
her, and the doctor, lifting his hat, with
a sort of sans ceremonie introduction, —
" My sister Eose is so anxious to know
you, Mrs Albany, that we have waited to
" I am very much honoured, Miss Neville,"
the rich, low voice answers ; " and I assure
you the anxiety was reciprocal, for we saw
you as ^e drove by on Friday."
(" We, indeed," mutters Mrs W., with a
toss, " upon my word ; quite an adven-
" Did you ? — I saw you. Will you walk
just back with us, and come in to luncheon ? "
*' Thank you. Miss Neville ; you are very
kind, and I will walk back to your gate
with pleasure ; but I cannot, I think, leave
Mr Glen-Luna so much longer alone. He
Sunday Morning. 155
insisted on my coming to church, as he was
so much better. Marston ? "
" Yes, madam."
The groom touched his hat, and waited
her orders, as if she had been his master,
or a duchess at least.
" Will you just drive on to Dr Neville's
gate, and wait for me there ? "
Marston saluted again, and drove off his
pretty little horses, while his 'pro tern, mis-
tress took the doctor's offered arm, and
passed on between him and Sister Eose.
" I suspect," she said, smiling, " that my
brother, although a good Tory, meditates
a considerable revolution in the medical
treatment of your charge, Mrs Albany."
" I think it is needed. Miss Neville, and
I am verv certain that I mean to make an
entire revolution in his social treatment,
subject, of course" — with an arch glance
at Chandos — "to physician's autocracy. I
am too true blue to defy legal authority."
" I think we shall find ourselves quite at
156 Sunday Morning,
one, Mrs Albany ; and I have no fear that
you will allow the least interference with
your authority in Mr Glen-Luna's menage ^^
said the doctor, with a comical look in the
fine lines of the resolute mouth and brow.
Indeed, where was there a weak line at that
beautiful face, in which character was so
" Certainly not. I could not take
such a responsibility without adequate
authority ! "
*' Quite right, Mrs Nurse, and I am very
certain that Mr Glen-Luna will entirely
support you. Of Sir Arthur I know no-
thing. Do they know anything of this
accident, if I may ask ? "
'' I wrote last night to Sir Arthur just to
say there had been a slight accident, that I
had called you in, and all was well with
his son, who, I added, had placed him-
self at once entirely under your medical
" Thank you, Mrs Albany. I am glad
Sunday Morning, 157
you have done so, and, God knows, I hope I
shall justify the confidence you and Mr
Glen-Luna have reposed in me."
" I am sure of one thing, Dr Neville, that
if you fail, it will not be from any fault of
He bowed gravely, and Miss Neville
asked if they had discovered the cause of
" Some flaw in the chain, I believe,"
Gabrielle answered ; " but a new lift is to
be put up on Monday. I felt quite safe,
you see, in acting without the least regard
to expense, for Sir Arthur would sooner lose
half his fortune than have any risk to his
" I am not surprised," said Neville, ** that
his father should be so fond of him. He- is
his heir, his only son, and a man gifted with
singular power of attaching those about
him. The servants seem to simply adore
So talking, the three reached the gate of
158 Sunday Morning.
Cedar Lodge, and Mrs Winstanley, standing
behind her own, on the opposite side of the
wide roadway, heard Miss Neville say as
they were parting, —
" You will come and see us, then, Mrs
Albany, whenever you can, or like ? "
*' I shall be so happy. Miss Neville. I
think, when I am driving out, the horses
will soon learn their way here."
" Upon my word ! " said Mrs Winstanley,
" I — I — the horses indeed ! as if the whole
thing belonged to her. She steps into that
victoria as if she had never been used to
anything but a carriage all her life ! Such
airs ! "
Which, in fact, Leicester Albany's wife
had been more or less. She was *' to the
manner born," in truth ; but it did not
seem that unfortunate Mrs Albany could
please Mrs "Winstanley in any way, whether
she said " we " or ** I " only. Alas ! for
the Doring lady's censure ! I'm afraid
that it was like the account of the Papal
Sunday Morning, 159
excommunication in the *' Ingoldsby Le-
"Never was heard such a terrible curse ;
But what gave rise
To no little surprise,
Nobody seemed one penny the worse !"
OUGLAS GLEN-LUNA was back
again on his usual couch, in his
favourite place by the window,
on Monday morning. Not, though, .until
Dr Neville had been, and given permission
for the resumption of his accustomed ways.
Wicked Douglas had tried in vain to coax
his " fair autocrat " to suffer any remove
without orders from headquarters.
*' And as to Harford," said Douglas, " I
don't believe he would have obeyed any
order of mine on the subject if Mrs Albany
had even looked a * No ! "*
Return Home, i6r
Gabrielle smiled, and Neville asked when
the family returned.
" About midday, I suppose, Dr Neville ;
as we have not heard."
"And the lift will be ready to use to-
** So Boyd promised, and you see he has
the men hard at work."
"I see. Well, Mr Glen-Luna, I shall
expect to meet you and Mrs Albany out
with those blood horses again ; and in an-
other twelve months, perhaps, we shall re-
verse the case, and have you driving her on
the box-seat of your four-in-hand."
The blood flushed to Douglas's brow ; but
it died as suddenly, with a look of intense
pain and a restless movement.
" Ah, don't ! Don't jest ! "
" Jest ! How could I on such a matter !
I was never farther from jesting in my life,
Mr Glen-Luna ; and I have every hope that,
with Mrs Albany's continued assistance, I
shall make good my words, under the treat-
VOL. I. L
1 62 Return Home,
ment we shall follow ; of which I will speak
more in a few days."
Douglas turned aside, and his breast
A year ! Only a year, and then — could
it be possible ! Dared he look at such a
" Well, good-bye, Mr Glen-Luna," came
the physician's bright, cheering voice. ** I
wish I left all my patients in as good hands
as I do you ! "
" I must not forget your good opinion,
He laughed, shook hands with both, and
But it was not till afternoon that Sir
Arthur and his wife and daughter came
home ; and shortly afterwards a footman
came to inquire if Mr Douglas could see
" Yes, James."
Gabrielle Albany was leaning lightly on
the head of the couch as greetings passed
Return Home, 163
and anxious questions were asked. It was
neither the frank, fine old baronet or his
daughter whom her covert searching gaze
watched ; but that little lady, who kissed
her "dear boy" so affectionately, and was
so full of gratitude for his escape, to Provi-
dence and dear Mrs Albany, who had done
everything that was right ; and what caused
the accident, and —
" Indeed, Lady Glen-Luna, it little mat-
ters, since," said Gabrielle, dismissing the
subject of the accident, "there is a new
lift, and very good care must be taken that
no second accident occurs."
" And meanwhile, Jessie," said Douglas
gravely, "you will have the fullest opportu-
nity of flirting with Dr Chandos Neville."
" Ha ! ha ! You're as wicked as ever,
my boy," laughed Sir Arthur; and Jessie
" I shall have better than that, sir, I can
tell you, Mr Impudence ; for mamma says
we're going to town in a few days for the
164 Return Home,
rest of the season, and there'll be plenty of
people to flirt with then."
*' A highly-to-be -desired end, my dear, I
admit, and one in which, I think, few young
ladies require lessons. Do they, Adeline ? "
" Or men either, you bad boy ? But,
Arthur, we mustn't tire him. So you fancy,
dear boy, by the way, to have Dr Neville
to attend you ? "
Mrs Albany bent over the sofa head, and
laid her finger playfully but imperatively
on Douglas's lips.
" Hush ! or the doctor will scold me for
letting you tire yourself. Please, Lady
Glen-Luna, don't make him talk. Indeed,
I am afraid I must turn you all out now."
" Oh, you autocrat ! " laughed Adeline,
" I suspect you will lead my poor Douglas
a sad life of it; but of course it is all
right. I suppose Dr Neville thinks that it
will take some time of medical care to really
sound the mischief of — "
"The accident," said Gabrielle quietly.
Return Home, 165
" Exactly so ; a work of time. It might
have been beyond all time."
** Don't talk of it," said Sir Arthur,
huskily. " Good-bye, for the present, my
Douglas clasped his father s hand closely,
endured Adeline's kiss and Jessie's caress ;
and, when the door closed behind them,
said very quietly, —
" Come here, Mrs Albany."
She moved round to his side, never
flinching for one moment under his intense
searching gaze, as he said, —
" Why did you put your hand on my
lips, just now, and answer, or rather take
up, Adeline's questioning remarks as you
did, fair Jesuit ? "
" My reason was strictly true, Mr Doug-
las ! and you, like myself, believe in casu-
istry, I know. I suffered a mistaken im-
pression ; populus vult decipi decepiaticr"
with a slight shrug of her shoulders and a
half smile on her lips.
1 66 Return Home,
** Cest fa'' said he, his great grey eyes
still watching her. " I saw at once that
you did not wish the truth about Neville
to be known, and so obeyed your lead ;
for if speech is silver, silence is golden ;
but I do not see your reason — your
"Will you trust me that it is a good
one ? '' she said steadily. " More than
that, will you promise me to still preserve
you golden silence, and let them all think
that Dr Neville's attendance is only in con-
sequence of this accident, and let me write
to him to do the same ? I am asking a
great deal, I know ; but one strong reason
I can give you and him is a very self-
evident one. It would fret you frightfully
and retard your recovery to be talked
over, questioned, watched — however kindly
meant — gossiped over."
" Saints above ! It would madden me ! "
he said passionately ; "do what you like,
you are always right ! "
Return Home. 167
Her hand trembled as it touched his
gratefully for a second, and the touch sud-
denly thrilled every fibre of that man's
whole being, as she sat down to his escri-
toire and began to write her letter.
Ah me ; for the cruel hand and ruthless
schemer that cared not if it made wreck of
two human hearts to gain its end ! Would
it win in the losing — or — lose in the
That letter was sent to Cedar Lodge hy
Marston that evening. Chandos read it,
and handed it to his sister, saying
*' Eead it, and burn it, Kose ; she wishes
you to see it."
She could be trusted, he knew well.
" She is perfectly right," said Sister Eose,
as she burned the letter in a taper, *' and
her reason shows her to be a true meta-
physician. She is a clever woman. Don't
you think so, Chandos ? "
** Yes, Eose ; a very clever woman."
l68 Return Home.
The answer was meditative, even ab-
stracted. Sister Eose added, —
" There is some thought in the back of
your mind, Chandos.**
He looked up with a half laugh.
" I don't know that there was, dear ;
certainly nothing definite enough to put into
words without sounding too strong for the
vague impression I would express. The
story of that singular woman's life is no
ordinary one, I am sure, and will be no
" I think," said Eose Neville strongly,
" that it is a cruel thing to go away and
leave her alone to have her very name
talked away in this scandalising town. She
will leave, and what will you do for your
patient ? "
*' My dear," said Neville serenely, *' I
agree with you in your first count, but for
the other I have no fear at all of Mrs
Albany leaving young Glen-Luna's service
for anything but his own dismissal. She is
Return Home, 169
a thorough woman of the world — a thorough
cosmopolitan — and I am very much mis-
taken if she has not known troubles to
which anything this stupid little place could
do or say would be play- work. When one
has beaten through a frightful tempest, the
storm in a duck pond is worthy only of
" If," said gentle Eose, " a woman can
ever look with indifference on a breath on
her name, unless she is hardened." *
" No," said Chandos, ** seared a little,
perhaps, certainly not hardened ; and, after
all, Eose, a thoroughly brave, loyal-hearted
woman stands at such an immovable height
in her own purity."
" Yes," answered Sister Eose, " but what
if she falls to her own conscience, what, if
while her actions are unblemished, her heart
— her poor human heart — swerves from its
" Well," said the doctor, getting up and
walking slowly to and fro, " it might be a nice
170 Return Home,
question of ethics, how far it would touch
a woman's conscience, even to herself, if she
were placed in a position of great tempta-
tion, and her heart swerved, not from or
with her own will — but against all that
will's struggles — despite all her efforts to
keep it in its strict line of duty. I think
that as long as she fights the battle, as long
as she suffers in the heart's straying, she has
not, cannot, fall to her own conscience — or
her purity of soul be sullied. Of course,
I am supposing a position in which the
temptation must be endured — not fled
" The maintenance of her high standard,"
said Rose, "would, I fear, have but a
shaky foundation if, in her heart and her
conscience, her purity came on opposite
sides of the shield ; how long would the
battle be a battle, the suffering remain
suffering, in a strong impassioned nature ?
You do not mean that if a wife with every
excuse loves another man — "
Return Home. 171
" I mean this, Rose," said the doctor, stop-
ping before her chair, " that if she does not
yield to it, and if the love is in itself pure,
she is untouched — her pure loyalty is intact.
A thought or feeling may be wrong, sinful,
but we do not become sinners to it till we
meet it, take it in, make it our own."
" You are quite right, Chandos," said
Eose, after a pause, "yes, you are quite
right. But God help the woman or man who
has such a battle to fight ; it might not. be
won. It is a cruel, cruel thing, Chandos."
She came back with that to where she
had started, and shook her head sadly to
They had each, all through, had two
living beings before them, and each knew
it, though neither had put it into words.
It is better not sometimes.
DR NEVILLE LAYS DOWN THE LAW.
UT Chandos Neville did not meet
the tenants of the west wing out
driving with the blood horses.
Wishing to have a long talk, he waited till
the afternoon of the next day, when, having
seen all his other patients, he had the time
all his own, and started off to the Hall on
foot. At the Doring gates of the park,
however, the lodge-keeper stopped him with
a bright " Good day, sir. Was you going
up to the Hall to see Mr Douglas ? "
" Yes, Mrs Crane. Is he out driving ? "
** No, sir ; but he ain't in the house this
fine day, for Mr Harford he's just ridden
Dr Neville lays down the Law. 173
througli, and he told me that the master
and Mrs Albany are just down by the river,
along near the boathouses."
** Thanks ! Which is the shortest way to
that part, then ? "
The woman pointed to a lovely bit of
" Just through that wood, sir ; and, as
soon as you catches sight of the river, turn
your back to the Hall and lawns, and keep
straight down to the water; then skirt* it
till you see the master, sir."
Dr Neville thanked her again, and fol-
lowed her directions, which soon brought
him out by the river ; and he had not gone
far when he caught the gleam of something
crimson between the rich green of the foli-
age, and the musical murmur of voices came
to his ear. Neville made a slight detour,
and paused on a rising ground crowned with
stately trees, from which he could see the
group in the lovely dell below, where the
river rippled almost at their feet.
1 74 Dr Neville lays down the Law,
Douglas Glen-Luna was leaning back in
his wheeled chair, his attitude the very per-
fection of easy grace, the sunlight falling
full on his handsome face as it turned intent
and rapt to his beautiful attendant, who,
seated at his feet on the chair, was reading
aloud, and it was her crimson scarf which
he had seen.
As Chandos paused, the reader seemed to
have come to the end of what she was read-
ing, and she looked up in Douglas's face
with a question that came distinctly on the
clear summer air.
" What would you like next ? "
" Nothing, Mrs Albany. I feel a per-
fectly selfish wretch already ; but — you
read so exquisitely."
She laughed a little, amused, it seemed,
at the first words.
'' You selfish ! I don't think any one can
lay that to your charge."
" Then I fear I must be a hypocrite to
have given you such an opinion of me.
Dr. Neville lays down the Law. 175
Don't you think most of my sex are selfish
— more so than women ? Candour, now
please, fair Jesuit, if you can."
" I think most men are more selfish than
women ; but," said Gabrielle, smiling, and
looking straight in his face, *'if you will
have absolute candour, I do not think you
know what the word selfishness means ! "
" Basta ! " said he, laughing and colour-
ing. "You cannot tell. You have only
known me a week." *
" A feather will show which way the wind
blows, Mr Douglas," Gabrielle answered.
"What shall I read?"
" Nothing yet, chere madame. I cannot
tire you. Ah ! who is that ? "
Both turned as the doctor's step advanced ;
and the next moment Gabrielle rose quickly,
and Douglas exclaimed joyously, —
" Why, it is our ^sculapius himself !
Boyez toujours le bien venn Neville ! Did
you come this way by chance ? "
"No, I came after you," answered the
176 Dr Neville lays down the Law.
physician in his bright way ; " the lodge-
keeper directed me, and I thought there
could hardly be a better opportunity for a
quiet talk. I have some theories which I
want to put into practice co-existently with
the more purely medical treatment. It is
of the first I wish to speak. I don't mean,"
said the doctor, leaning comfortably back
against a tree, and folding his arms, " that
I have any new or startling theory to offer,
but only old theories — old facts, indeed —
which I perhaps push to an extreme, though
I do not think either of .you will disagree
" Go on, please, Neville."
"Well," said the physician, "I don't
think, with all our advancement, that we
have yet half fathomed the depth and
closeness of the connection between mind
and body, the intimate and absolute influ-
ence which the mental and physical have
over each other, both in health and out of
health, especially in the latter case, and the
Dr Neville lays down the Law. 177
greater the power of both, the deeper, the
more intense, the influence of each over
the other. I think that in medical science
there is scarcely any limit to be placed to
the influence and reaction of psychology
"I thoroughly endorse every word you
have spoken!" said Glen-Luna. *'I sup-
pose you have always followed that prin-
ciple of action in your own career ? "
" Ay, and the finer strung the nature J
have to deal with the more necessary the
treatment," said the doctor, so significantly
that Douglas laughed.
*' Meaning me, of course. Do you think
I shall prove rebellious."
" No ; but I am afraid that circumstances
would do so if I had not an ally ever at
your side in Mrs Albany. We mean to
make a complete revolution in your life."
" I think that is done already," said
Douglas softly ; " but I beg your pardon ;
I yS Dr Neville lays down the Law,
" It is only just begun a week ago,"
returned the physician decidedly ; " and
pardon me if it is necessary for me to
ask a few questions, which I fear must
A quick-drawn breath, a quick, transient
flush, and a restless movement of one hand
as he answered, —
" Say what you like, Neville."
"Thank you. From the time of the
accident, then, you have been left alone, to
suffer and brood, and go half-mad with
restlessness and agony of mind and body ;
where you should have had constant and
affectionate companionship you have been
cruelly neglected. The mere physical con-
finement was enough to weaken and injure
the body and chances of recovery (which
must depend so much on the strength), with-
out the added weight of such mental wear
and tear. A wild, free spirit, a mind used
to revelling in the broad expanse of the
wide world's garden, a splendid physique',
Dr Neville lays down the Law. 1 79
all suddenly crushed down into the narrow
limits of a suite of rooms, feeling your life
wrecked and God-forgotten, shrinking more
and more morbidly from every one. Mrs
Albany saw — read — all this in a few hours,
and first, in fact, broke through the cordon
when she drove you out last Friday. You
are not probably yourself aware how im-
measurably lowered is your whole physique
from the constant fret of mind acting on it,
and it will take months, perhaps, of a totally
opposite treatment to bring back something
like its native strength, — a treatment which
mainly aims at restoring the physical tone
through restoring the mental tone. With-
out that — of which Mrs Albany is so in-
tegral a part — I should not have dared to
offer the hope I have. You are like a very
fine instrument thoroughly out of tune. It
cannot be strung up all at once. My plan
is social as well as medical."
He paused. Mrs Albany did not move.
Douglas Glen-Luna, without dropping the
1 80 Dr Neville lays down the Law,
hand he had put over his eyes, said in a
very low voice, —
" I know too well how bitterly right you
are. What is your plan ? "
"Simply, Glen -Luna, to continue and
expand what your young friend here has
begun. We must * rub ' out, and date from
Mons. You have been kept lying down and
in one or two positions too much. You shall
move positions and recline as much as you
are able to bear it. You must go out — be
out constantly — and you must no longer
shun people, the world, and shrink from it.
And as you cannot yet go to society, we
must bring society to you. We must get
them to bring down guests this autumn."
"No! no! not that, Neville!" Douglas
broke out passionately. " I cannot mix with
others, meet others I have known, so, so
Soft fingers clasped his — a soft voice, full
of the very pathos of intense sympathy,
said quietly, —
Dr Neville lays down the Law. 1 8 1
" It will only be so hard at first, and
then you will feel all in your own element
He made no answer, or even movement,
for some moments ; then lifted himself a
little, and, closing one hand round hers,
held the other out to Chandos.
" Forgive me, Neville. I will never gain-
say one wish of yours or hers ; it only proves
how right you are, and what a coward I have
" No, no, not a coward," Chandos inter-
rupted, " you must not be too severe on
yourself, or Mrs Albany will scold you."
" I am not afraid of her, tyrant though
she is," said Douglas. "Neville, will you
turn back to the Hall with us, and let me
introduce you to my people ? "
'* With great pleasure."
They were, in fact, only a short distance
from the old Hall, which had been built
near the river. Gabrielle rose, came quietly
behind the light, dainty chair, and laid her
1 82 Dr Neville lays down the Law.
hands on the handle, saying, as Chandos
would have taken it from her, —
" Thanks, Dr Neville, but please let me
push it as usual ; see how light it is and
easy. Indeed, I like it ; it is no effort."
That this was true was self-evident the
moment she pushed the chair ; even up the
gentle slope it gave her unmistakably no
great exertion, and the physician's practised
eye took note that, slight built though she
was, every muscle, every fibre was full of a
steel-like subtle strength that was almost
masculine ; and, under strong excitement
or passion, might indeed put forth a power
which might even rival a man's strength.
The thought crossed him then — and before
many months had passed, he had cause to
remember that thought.
READ THE RIDDLE NEAR HOME.
^^I^SHE dainty chair, with its elastic
Opl ^^ webwork of fine springs and
^ ^u§^ noiseless - tyred wheels, came
along the marble terrace and stopped be-
fore the windows of the room where Sir
Arthur, after a long ride, sat half-dozing,
while Jessie read a novel, and Lad}^ Glen-
Luna, seated half behind the window
curtains, was drawing the gorgeous silks
through her embroidery, her own face and
manner as silky as the threads she wove.
But she had seen them coming, and almost
before Douglas's flute -like tones had called
"Adeline," her pretty little ladyship had
1 84 Read the Riddle near Home.
tripped out, all smiles and welcome, with
white, frank hand outstretched to the
" I won't pretend to need the farce of an
introduction, Dr Neville," said smiling lip
and clear metallic voice. " I should guess
who you were, even if I had not heard so
much of you. I guessed the moment I saw
you all three that it could only be Dr
Neville with my dear Douglas."
Chandos bent low over the white, cold
hand as he answered that he was pleased to
meet her ; but Gabrielle, from her vantage
place behind the chair, noticed that the
hazel eyes scanned her as keenly as covertly
the moment she appeared, a fact which
Douglas also saw, as Adeline turned to call
her daughter and husband.
Jessie caught a very quiet, wicked look
from Douglas as her mother performed the
introduction, and then hearty, handsome Sir
Arthur came out to the group.
*' I am so very glad to have met you, Dr
Read the Riddle near Home, 185
Neville," he said cordially, and the contrast
between his and his wife's manner struck
three of those present as absolutely ludi-
crous ; " and I am sure I could not wish
my son in better hands than yours. I
wish you could persuade him not to be such
a recluse ; more society, I am certain,
would — "
"Oh, Sir Arthur!" exclaimed Mrs Al-
bany, laughingly, "please don't make him
medical again. Indeed, Dr Neville," lightly
striking his arm with that inimitable,
charming imperativeness which a hand-
some, thoroughly accomplished woman of
the world knows so well how to use,
" you shall not answer now."
" I must e'en obey a lady's command,"
said Ohandos, bowing, " and only beg Lady
Glen-Luna to be my defender. I hear you
are going to desert the Park for five or
" Yes, we go to town to-morrow, I think ;
and when, we return I hope we shall have
1 86 Read the Riddle near Home.
the pleasure of seeing both yourself and
your sister. You see," said my lady, with
her frank, merry laugh, " that I have heard
of her, too, in the village ; I am such a
little chatterbox, you know."
" Mamma is frank about her delinquen-
cies," said Jessie ; " is she not ? "
" Well, Miss Glen-Luna, but chatter-
boxes enliven the world, and so we must
not call it a delinquency. But I fear I
must take leave now," as the clock on the
tower chimed out four. '*You ladies have
" Must you run away so soon," said Sir
Arthur and Adeline together ; "' cannot you
stop longer ? "
" You are very kind ; I cannot, indeed,"
he answered, and took leave with a very
odd impression on his mind ; firstly, that
iu the diversion Gabrielle had made to
his reply to Sir Arthur, there had been
a far different motive to that which lay
so fairly on the surface; and secondly,
Read the Riddle nea7' Home, 187
that she was relieved when he walked
But he had not gone more than just
beyond the reach of even Douglas's keen
ear shot when Gabrielle suddenly ex-
" Ma foi ! how provoking ! I have for-
gotten to send my message to his sister
after all ! Please excuse me a few minutes,
Douglas bowed, and leaned back, watching
the slight, graceful figure rapidly moving ;
while the others re-entered the room, de-
claring it was " too hot in the sun."
" Hot ! " said Douglas, shrugging his
shoulders ; *' it never is in England ! "
" I think, my dear, that you and Mrs
Albany are salamanders," laughed his step-
mother through the windows.
Meanwhile Ghandos Neville had seen
Gabrielle, as she neared him, and instantly
turned to meet her, asking quickly, —
" Is anything the matter, Mrs Albany ? "
1 88 Read the Riddle near Home.
" Not as you mean, Dr Neville ; but — can
you spare me a few moments ? "
" As many as you please ! " lie answered
She stood for a minute looking down,
her fingers twisting and untwisting her
watch guard. She was on dangerous
ground, and, knowing it, meant him to
show his colours first. Hers was the most
subtle nature ; his the more candid.
" Dr Neville, I owe you an apology for
my interruption a few minutes back. I
am afraid that it puzzled and vexed you ;
that you perhaps misunderstood me."
She lifted those searching eyes of hers
straight to his as she spoke.
*' Certainly not vexed, dear Mrs Albany,"
said Chandos earnestly ; '* not misunderstood,
I fancy, for I felt that you had some good
reason for your apparently laughing words ;
puzzled, because I could not quite see your
" No ! You were going to thoroughly
Read the Riddle near Home, 189
endorse Sir Arthur's words ; add that
society, a house full of guests, was the very
thing his son should have, en fin, show your
" Why not ? Sir Arthur, I am certain,
and so are you, would do anything for his«
" Certainly he would ; but," she looked
down again, with an odd, comical, signifi-
cant smile about her delicate, firm lips,
*^ don't you remember the story told of.
the Duke of Marlborough at the council of
" You mean the one where he had secret
information that a spy was present, and so
gave out a totally opposite plan to his real
scheme, despite all remonstrances."
" Precisement, monsieur. Kead the
riddle near home — et voila tout ! I leave
that to your quick wits ; to mine the task
of Marlborough. I only ask you to re-
member how wisely the ancients placed
Truth at the bottom of a well ; and leave
1 90 Read the Riddle near Home,
the rest to me. I think I am more than a
match for the enemy ; and I think I read
'' I knew that," said Chandos strongly,
" metal upon metal — false heraldry. I
Gannot think either that Douglas Glen-Luna
" Not for one moment," said Gabrielle
emphatically, *' but he makes no sign.
Now we understand each other, Dr Neville."
"Perfectly, and we have one end in
*' One end. Now adieu, and warn your
sister. Will you bring her to see us soon,
if she will come ? "
" Nothing will give her greater pleasure,
He raised his hat, bowed low, and went
on, while she returned to Douglas Glen-
Luna. He gave her such a keen searching
look that she could scarcely bear it, and the
colour tinged the soft dark cheeks.
*' I beg your pardon," he said quietly ;
Read the Riddle near Home, 1 9 1
" shall we go back under the trees, now
please, if you are not tired ? "
"I am not at all tired, Mr Douglas. I
have taken a liberty with your name ; do
you know ? "
" I am only happy if my name can be of
any use to you, sweet nurse. What have
you done with it ? "
" I have asked Miss Neville to come and
He winced at that, and did not answer.
She bent down a little as she pushed the
''Forgive me ! It grieves me to probe a
wound and cause suffering, but there must
be a beginning, you know."
" I know you are always right, and I
wrong," said Glen-Luna, dropping his curly
head back on the cushions to look up in
her face. "I am afraid you will find me a
handful to manage, after all, Mrs Albany."
But Gabrielle only shook her head and
1 92 Read the Riddle near Home,
" An open foe is nothing. It is the
secret enemy that one must needs dread."
Did he know that as well as she did % Did
she not know that he did, or why had he
never once asked a question about any one
thing that had passed since she came there ?
Silence was golden to both unless the
serpent's fang came too close, and then —
what then ?
"nous avons change tout cela."
STILL, heavy, brooding evening,
sultry and oppressive, the at-
mosphere charged with that
subtle electricity, which is cantly and most
incorrectly called " thundery," and few of
those who made units of the thousands
ever passing to and fro the busy streets
of mighty London, but could have pre-
dicted a heavy storm before many hours
Every breath of air — even
" Summer evening's latest sigh,
That shuts the rose."
194 Nous Avons Change Tout Cela.
had died away at sunset, and across the
deep blue vault above, with its myriads
of starry worlds, there lay like a slum-
bering giant overhead, with sweeping robe,
and arms outstretched over the great
city, a mass of lurid clouds, dark and
ominous, flecked a little here and tjiere
with fleecy white that had caught the
last glow of the sunlight, as the wings of
the stormy petrel at sea catch its glint —
wondrous and most awesome beauty in
those far-ofi" heavens — and yet how many
of those restless, surging thousands below,
bent on business or pleasure, paused once
and glanced up to admire ? Certainly not
that tall, powerfully-built man — whom we
should know — for he only looked up as
he leaped out of a hansom in Great Port-
land Street, to mutter a curse on the
He was in evening dress, beneath the
light summer wrap coat which he wore,
so it seemed an odd place to alight — still
Nous Avons Change Tout Cela. 195
more odd that he turned at once down
the first eastward outlet, and in a short
while made his way into the quiet bye
street into which, only shortly before, he
had followed Gabrielle Albany. At that
same house, kept by worthy little Mrs
May, Leicester Albany once more stopped,
with a somewhat blank look as he saw a
neat card in the parlour window, with
'' Furnished apartments" on it.
" The devil ! " he muttered angrily,
" where' s the bird flown ? If it were only
out off England — only off with some lover,
I'd be down on her, and try at least to
get rid of her. I'll find out, though, where
He went up the steps and knocked.
Mrs May herself answered it, for she had
seen a well-dressed gentleman pause out-
side, and had an eye to business. His
very first words, however, urbanely enough
spoken, disabused her of any such idea, and
caused a revulsion in her quick little head.
196 Nous Avons Change Tout Cela.
"You lately had a lady lodging here
named Albany, I think ? "
Mrs May was on her guard at once, and
pursed her lips, eyeing the stranger aslant
with no friendly expression.
"Mrs Albany left me over a fortnight
ago, sir," she said curtly, but civilly. " I
was sorry to lose her too."
" Indeed ! had she been with you long,
" She kept on my rooms for two years,
though she was much abroad herself"
" Was she ? And she has left London,
you say ? "
"I didn't say nothing of the sort, sir,"
returned Mrs May sharply. " I said she'd
left me, and that's all I knows."
" You don't know where she has gone ? "
" No, I don't."
He did not believe her — he was furious
at the fiat denial, and said, with an evil
sneer, "I suppose, then, my good woman,
that you do not know either that Mrs
Nous Avons Change Tout Cela. 197
Albany left her husband in California about
two years ago — fled, I mean, with a lover,
and came here and humbugged the law
into giving her a separation with a cooked-
Mrs May blazed out at once all in one
breath of wrath.
" I wish she could 'a cooked you up, I
do, for daring to tell such lies ! Upon
my soul and body, I don't believe your
nothink better than her scamp of a hus-
band his own self, and if hever you come
here again, I'll give you in charge for
deferation of character, I will, you nasty,
mean wretch, you."
Bang went the door right in his face,
and he could hear the little woman's step
stumping angrily away within. His own
face was livid as he turned away into the
street, and he laid this up as another count
against his wronged wife.
But smooth and urbane, and handsome
once more was Mr Leicester Albany, when
198 Nous Avons Change Tout Cela.
not long afterwards he lounged into the
stylish stalls of the Prince of Wales's,
glanced round, and relapsed into the velvet
seat, with a nod to one or two young men
who were two or three rows behind.
" Who the deuce is that dashing-looking
card, Eosslyn ? " asked the young man who
had not been noticed. " I saw him on the
Row last week, and he came out of Aylmer's
salon de jeu last night just as I was
leaving — a new face surely this last fort-
night ! "
Percy Eosslyn was one of those sort of
society flies who are always more or less
posted up as to the who's-who of the leaves
and twigs eddying about on the restless
waters of London society.
" Yes, a new face," he said ; *' an awfully
jolly fellow too, and plenty of money — not
a bad catch for some girl who wants a good
settlement ; some one introduced Clifford
Brandon at the Polyglot, and he and I
rather struck up an acquaintance."
Notts Avons Change Tout Cela. 199
" How is it that he's such a stranger to
London '? " said the younger, in his first
season. " He's nearer forty than thirty if
he's a day."
'' Oh, it's only lately that he's come into
a fortune/' returned Rosslyn ; *' he's been
abroad, and in California a good deal, but
he says he's tired of roughing it, and
means to enjoy his aunt's money in the
"" Time he did," returned young Saltottn,
who did not at present appear quite as
entich^ by Mr Clifford Brandon as the
helter-skelter son of Colonel Eosslyn, for
such Percy was. " You must introduce me
" All right. Ah, Jove ! there are some
people I know," bowing low towards a box
to the right. " Didn't know they were in
town, — Lady and Miss Glen-Luna."
" Deuced pretty, both of them," com-
mented Saltoun, ''especially the daughter.
I say, Brandon's twigging them too, and
200 Nous Avons Change Tout Cela,
saw you bow. Whew ! how frightfully hot
it is ! "
An opinion evidently shared by every one
in the theatre, to judge by the faces, and the
indefinite — ah — of breath when the gas was
lowered as the curtain rose again, and a
puff of air, somewhat sirocco-like certainly,
came from the stage. A few moments later,
while inimitable Mrs Bancroft chained the
attention of the house, there came a deep
growl of thunder above, as if the cloudy
monster afar had roused himself at last ;
then a flash that gleamed like daylight
through the windows behind the gallery,
and then a roar, a crash that shook the very
roof and walls of the building, and seemed
as if the whole mighty canopy of heaven
were rent in twain. A woman in the
gallery uttered a half shriek, aud cried out
that the theatre was struck and would take
fire ! There had been an upward look in-
stantly — an upheaving of fear through the
audience — there would possibly have been
Nous Avons Change Tout Cela, 201
a panic, but Leicester Albany, tall and
imposing, stood up for a moment, glanced
towards the gallery, and, as if speaking to
some one near him, said quietly, but aloud
and distinctly, —
" They don't seem to know that there is
a very lofty lightning conductor on the roof."
The crowd settled, every ear heard, every
eye turned on the speaker as he resumed
his seat. Eosslyn said audibly, " Well
done, Brandon," and Jessie Glen-Luna
whispered enthusiastically to her mother,
" What a dear fellow, mamma ! Isn't he
handsome ? Do make Percy Eosslyn in-
troduce him. I saw him nod to him."
" We'll see, my dear ; if he knows the
Rosslyns at all, we are certain to meet him,
for the Colonel and his wife are in town
too. Ah ! another clap of thunder ! How
dreadful ! And so hot ! " fanning herself
languidly, " I shall be glad when the curtain
" I wish we had not come at all," said
202 Nous Avons Change Tout Cela.
Jessie. *' I'm dreadfully afraid of being out
in a thunder storm."
The storm, too, was near, for the roll
of thunder was almost ceaseless ; and be-
fore the end of the last act Lady Glen-
Luna suggested departing. Jessie rose and
followed her out. Some others were leaving
also, but, on receiving the name at the
entrance, the policeman soon brought up the
carriage. The thunder had rolled for some
minutes, though the heavens were now a
mass of lurid electric clouds as Albany,
coming towards the entrance with his wrap-
coat over his arm, saw — saw^ those two ladies
again, too, and noticed that the elder had
diamonds in her ears.
" Lady Glen-Luna's carriage ! "
In that moment, as Jessie stepped for-
ward to reach it, there was a sudden crash
of thunder overhead — a gleam, a flash of
forked lightning, so fearfully dazzling, so
close, that every one started back with hands
to their eyes — Jessie, with a wild shriek of
JVous Avojis Change Tout Cela. 203
frantic terror ; her skirt was just alight, and
with that shriek she was rushing madly
forward, half blinded, courting the very
death or injuries she fled, when, with one
leap, Albany seized her in his powerful
grasp, wrapped his overcoat close around
her limbs, crushed the great door mat over
that, and so completely smothered the flame
beyond the portion of dress and underskirt.
It was all the work of a minute, and poor
little Jessie, really unhurt, but more than
half fainting: with terror — hearins: the
shrieks of the women and her mother's
voice, as in a dream, was lifted in those
strong arms and borne to the carriage —
placed at her mother's side.
" You will permit me to escort you safe
home, madam ? " said Albany, seeing that
the mother was as white and almost as
shaken as the daughter, and, hardly waiting
for her trembling, —
"Thank you — I cannot trouble you,"
stepped in, and the carriage dashed off",
204 Nous Avons Change Tout Cela.
leaving the crowd to stare and the storm
to rage ; for now the heavens were opened
and the rain came down in a deluge.
Leicester drew up both windows, and
bent forward as Jessie began to revive,
under her mother s strong salts.
" I do not think the flame reached her,"
he said gently. *' I cannot but be thankful
for the chance that brought me out before
the end. I went to catch my friend, Percy
" You have saved my child's life ! " said
Adeline, for once with real warmth, real
earnest sincerity and feeling — for this girl
was the one thing she did care for — " and
I do not know how to thank you enough ! "
" Indeed, madam, you make too much
of the slight service it has been my good
fortune to render your daughter."
" Ah, you may make light of it ! but
her mother and father, nor she herself,
cannot be so ungrateful. Who are we to
thank ? " and Jessie's blue eyes, as she lay
Nous Avons Change Tout Cela. 205
against her mother, looked up in his with
a mute entreaty. How bewitching she
" My name is Clifford Brandon. Very
much at your service, Lady Glen-Luna."
" Thank you ! I saw you come in and
bow to young Rosslyn." Adeline added,
** His father s place is only ten miles from
our own, at Doring."
Albany bowed, and secretly thanked his
lucky stars. If only this pretty little thing,
were an heiress !
The carriage presently stopped at a hand-
some house in Park Lane, and Mr Leicester
Albany — for we will still give him his
own name — assisted the fair Jessie out.
" You will do us the pleasure of calling
to-morrow, I hope, Mr Brandon," said Ade-
line, cordially shaking hands ; " and the
carriage shall take you on home now. Nay,
I insist on it ! "
" You must, indeed ! " added Jessie lan-
guidly, but with a sweet smile ; and, bowing
2o6 Notts Avons Change Tout Cela.
low, Gabrielle's husband accepted and re-
entered the carriage, giving the direction
to his chambers in Grafton Street, where a
handsome douceur to my lady's coachman,
made that worthy decide "him to be every
inch a gentleman."
Certainly, Mr Leicester Albany had not
done a bad stroke of business for himself
And so he himself thought.
THE NEXT MORNING.
R LEICESTER ALBANY was
certainly not one of those mo-
dest gentlemen who are content
to blossom and bloom in unobtrusive, un-
recognised virtue. He was the last man
likely to lose a chance windfall or miss an
opportunity for want of that inimitable
quality, which perhaps no lexicon so ex-
actly describes as the very terse, if not
equally elegant slang word " cheek." He
was perfectly aware of the value of that
quality, used as he so well knew how to
use it, in addition to his personal advan-
tages. He saw as clear as daylight that
2o8 The Next Mornzno-,
he had made a very decided impression
on this Lady Glen-Luna and the fair girl
he had unquestionably rescued from at
least a terrible injury, if not death. The
introduction was out of the beaten track,
romantic ; and, if he had not much of the
substance left, he could assume the mask
of sentiment enough to deceive the most
of the world. His scornful wife had only
spoken truth in the stern irony of her
"■ In birth, appearance, manners, you are
a gentleman — in nothing else.'*
But it was the first he kept before the
world ; the latter he hid.
" It only remains to ascertain her pro-
spects," quoth Gabrielle's admirable hus-
band dryly, " to mark her as my quarry.
Pretty little thing, by Jove ! and I am
certain, easy to twist round my finger,
which * I'adorata Gabriella ' never would be,
curse her, even as a slip of sixteen. So
now for Percy Kosslyn."
The Next Morning, 209
He completed an adjustment of dress
before the mirror with an extreme, al-.
most foppish attention, to an effective
appearance, and took his departure
in a most halcyon state of self-satisfac-
" By Jove, you are in luck, you are, Cliff
Brandon ! " was young Eosslyn's first salute.
"I've just heard all about that affair last
night. Haven't you just cut everybody out
with that little heiress ! " ,
** Heiress, is she?" said Albany, care-
lessly, as he dropped into a chair. " Is
she an only child, then ? "
" Well, it comes to that, I suppose, prac-
tically, my dear fellow — try one of those
cigars ; for, though there is a son by a
first marriage, he can't live long. Got
awfully smashed, you know, in some rail-
way accident ages ago. He's dying by
inches, I believe ; so somebody said, t'other
day, at the Bijou."
"Poor devil!" said Albany, lighting a
2IO The Next Morning,
cigar. " I nearly got smaslied once — ugh !
So this girl is — "
" Heiress of all the broad Glen-Luna lands,
after her brother ! " said Eosslyn ; " and, if
she wasn't, I don't believe she'd have such
a contemptible dower."
" Still dowers don't generally run to
much," returned his companion. "Not
that I care myself. Dame Fortune has
been kind to me on the whole, so that I
can please myself. I am going to call
there, as Lady Glen-Luna asked me ; and
so you may as well come too."
" All right, my boy ; I'm agreeable. The
two ladies are charming, and Sir Arthur a
jolly old fellow."
" What sort of being is this dying son ? "
asked Albany, as they descended to the
street, and turned towards Park Lane.
*' What — Douglas Glen-Luna ? He was
the most splendid fellow you ever saw !
The most fascinating man in every way,
and everybody's favourite. It's an awful
The Next Morning, 211
shame ! No one has seen him since the
accident, of course."
'* Where is he, then ? "
" Oh, at Luna Park."
" Then, Lady Glen - Luna is his step-
mother ? "
** Eather, my boy. I don't think she is
much over forty, and he is thirty. How do
you like her ? "
"Charming, I should think. Her daughter
is very like her."
" Yes. Jessie isn't a bit of a Glen-Luna ;
which is a pity, pretty as she is, for if she
was, she'd be bound to be a regular beauty.
So was the first wife, by her portrait ; but,
by Venus, Brandon, talk of beauty ! I
once saw a woman whom I defy any one to
rival. I should know her again ; quite
young ; two or three-and-twenty, perhaps.
She was with an old blind gentleman, in a
box at the opera at Vienna. He was
English ; she was not, I think."
" It's clear, cher Eoss, that you lost your
212 The Next Morning.
heart to this inconnue,^^ laughed Albany,
with the slightest suspicion of a sneer.
"What was she like?"
" My dear fellow, language fails me —
tall, slight as a girl, graceful as a houri,
rather dark, very pale, features like a statue
gifted with vivid life."
*' Isn't that tortology ? But go on."
" And her glorious dark eyes — "
" Which it is evident she used with great
effect," again put in Albany.
" She never looked at me, mon cher ;
though I certainly saw more of her than the
"And how did this beauty dress — wear
her hair, my Eomeo ? "
" Dress ? — exquisitely, in black velvet
and silver ornaments, and her hair was
just in rich masses of ripple and curls all
over her head, fringing her forehead, fall-
ing on to her neck. Foi ! I tell you she
was superb ! You wouldn't look at fifty
Jessies after her, I'm sure."
The Next Mor7iing. 213
'* Perhaps not," said the other dryly.
He had recognised his own beautiful wife
fast enough, even with such a bald
rhapsodical description. " Who was your
diva, eh ? "
" Don't know, except that she was some-
body's wife, for she wore a wedding-ring.
I saw it as she drew off her left glove."
" Somebody should be a very happy
man," said Albany, with another sneer,
" except for the fact of being her husband J'
Eosslyn laughed ; but by this time they
had reached the house in Park Lane, and,
in reply to their inquiry whether the ladies
were at home, were shown up into the
drawing-room, where they found not only
the two ladies, but Sir Arthur, whose hearty
reception of the soi-disant Brandon, and
heartfelt thanks to him, really meant far
more gratitude than the effusive welcome
of Adeline, or the slight blush and smile of
Jessie, the most arrant flirt, by the way,
like her mother before her.
2 1 4 The Next Morning.
" And you must both come to dinner
with us," said Sir Arthur presently, when
the accident and fearful thunderstorm had
been discussed, "for my wife has asked a
few friends, quite a little dinner party this
time, to whom we should like to introduce
you, Mr Brandon. Do you know Lady
Constance Lee and her daughter ? "
" I have not that honour. Sir Arthur,"
answered Albany, with a glance at Jessie ;
*' I have not been long in town, you
'* Indeed ; nor have we. I hate town
myself," said the baronet, laughing, " except
for a very short time ; but my wife and
daughter like to see the gay world, of
course, though they're not dull at Luna
Park at all."
" Sir Arthur is such a sportsman, Mr
Brandon," said Adeline, merrily, " that he
hardly feels happy unless he has a gun or
something of the sort in his hand. Do you
shoot ? "
The Next Morning. 215
*' Oh yes, Lady Glen-Luna ; I am very
fond of sport."
Which quite won Sir Arthur, and the
visitors took leave till dinner time.
But the sport Mr Leicester Albany liked
best was to be found in certain brilliantly
lighted salons with cards instead of game.
That beautiful woman down at Luna Park
could have told that too well.
SISTER ROSE GOES TO LUNA PARK.
WONDER what made Neville
bury himself in Doring, even
for a few months ? "
With that remark, Douglas Glen-Luna
broke a long silence, one sunny afternoon.
He was lying in his most usual place on
the couch, for they had been out all the
morning, and he was rather tired ; so his
" sweet autocrat," as he called her, had
banned anything but rest this afternoon.
She had been standing for a long time
leaning against the lintel of the window,
her hands loosely locked before her, her
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 2 1 7
eyes fixed dreamily on the fair panorama
of hill and wold and river spread before
their vision, and her thoughts perhaps on
her own sorrowful, stormy past, or perhaps
• — heaven help the poor, passionate, human
heart ! — on a present very much nearer to
her. So deep had been her reverie, so far
from Chandos Neville, that the sound of
Douglas's voice, low and soft though it
was, made her almost start.
''The same thought has crossed me more
than once," she answered him. " They
have evidently some very fair private
means, and had a practice in London.
Indeed, from a remark he made the day
after your family left, I fancy he runs up
for one whole day every week."
" Ah, well," said Douglas contentedly,
"whatever the reason, it is fortunate for
me that he came, and that the lift broke,
too, however that happened."
It was the first time he had voluntarily
made any allusion to the cause of that acci-
2 1 8 Sister Rose goes to Lttna Park,
dent, and now, as he said it, he looked
straight into her face. She met that
searching look without the quiver or droop
of an eyelid, and answered, —
" It was a very perilous curse of Kehama ;
and if it has turned into a blessing, it was
never — "
She stopped short, setting her teeth
sharply, and added with a shudder that
was real enough, —
" Don't talk of it — it was too terrible I
I wish Miss Neville would call." Gabri-
elle moved now to her little, low easy-
chair, near the couch. '' Do you know
that she reminds me always of Nathaniel
the Israelite, in whom was no guile."
" Does she ? Mrs Albany, do you ever
— I am sure you do — in your own mind
liken or identify people you know with
their prototypes in music, those that have
anything marked about them at all ? "
" Oh yes, often ! Sometimes to a class
of music, sometimes to a particular thing."
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park, 219
Glen-Luna smiled, playing with his
moustache. It was evident that he had
assigned a musical prototype to his com-
" Well," he said, " and what, then, is
this ' Sister Rose,' as her brother calls
Gabrielle glanced up under the long
" I don't know what you would think
of her ; but to me, she is the very personi-
fication of the divine Felix's exquisite
* Calm and prosperous voyage.' "
" Your very contrast, then," said Douglas
impulsively. " For you, Rubinstein's gor-
geous, passionate ' Ocean ' symphony is
your very self Ah ! pardon me. My
thoughts escaped too fast into words, Mrs
" No, no ! Why should it not ? Who
indeed, should so well hold free inter-
change of thought, if not those who are
constant companions, as we necessarily
2 20 Sister Rose goes to Luna Park,
are ? Where did you hear that magnifi-
cent work ? "
"Where? Well, abroad; the very first
time of its performance. I wish you had
been there, dear Mrs Albany ! "
" How do you know I was not ? "
"Ah, you were, I do believe ! " exclaimed
Douglas ; " were you not ? "
" Yes, I was there."
" I wonder," he said, with a restless
movement, "if I shall ever really be in
a concert room again, and with you. I
dare not hope — think — of the future,
"I can feel exactly how you feel," said
Gabrielle gently; "but that painful dread,
that very fear of hope will lessen as you
grow stronger, and have more people about
*' En effet^ you think the instru-
ment has gone thoroughly out of tune."
But his smile was sad. "I think you
Sister Rose goes to Luna Pm^k. 221
will do more to tune it than a score of
" Shall I ? But here, I think, comes
one who will help," said Mrs Albany, as
some one opened the anteroom door, and
a footman entered, bearing a card on a
tiny silver salver which he handed to his
mistress, as Douglas's own household had
speedily learned to regard Gabrielle Albany.
" Show Miss Neville in, Watson," she
said, at once rising to meet the welcome
visitor, as the footman ushered her in.
" Dear Miss Neville, we have been hoping
to see you every day."
" But I suppose," added Douglas, as
he shook hands, at once fully endorsing
Gabrielle's comparison, " I must not say
better late than never."
" Well, I daresay I deserve it, Mr Glen-
Luna," said Sister Eose, with her gentle
smile, as she took the seat placed for her,
" and indeed I meant to have come two
or three days ago, only that thunderstorm
222 Sister Rose goes to Luna Park,
prevented me. I see by the papers that it
burst that night over London with great
** Yes, I daresay I shall hear of it when
my people write," answered Glen-Luna.
"Why did not your brother come too,
Miss Neville? He must not think his
early morning visit is ever to count at all,
because that is strictly professional."
" I will tell him that, Mr Glen-Luna, and
he would have called with me if he had
been in Doring, but directly he left you,
he went up to town to see how his practice
is getting on. You see," said Eose Neville,
softly smoothing her white hands over her
dress, "that for a long time past Chandos
has been overworking between his practice
and a very abstruse professional work in
which he was engaged, and he is so earnest,
you know, so deeply interested in all his
work," — she paused.
" Ay," said Douglas strongly, " his very
heart is in his work, if ever man's was ! "
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park, 223
The brown eyes thanked him as their
owner went on, —
" So it is. Well, at last he got so worn,
so overworked in serious earnest, that old
Dr M — told him plainly that unless he
had rest and change for some months he
would have a brain fever. I had been
singing the same song for a long time,
you know, but," — said sweet Sister Rose,
smiling benignly — "you young people
are so proud of your strength and in-
tellect that you never think that it can
be overworked ; you run till you drop.
Ah, you may look so wickedly guilty at
Mrs Albany, my dear." How sweetly
and naturally the words fell from those
patient, peaceful lips. "It is quite true,
and I suspect that Mrs Albany is every
bit as bad as you or Chandos on such
points ; you won't listen to reason till it is
almost too late."
" Oh, Miss Neville ! Miss Neville ! " cried
Douglas, puttihg out both his hands, **I
2 24 Sister Rose goes to Luna Park,
shall have to lay lance in rest for both Mrs
Albany and myself."
"But you did get the doctor to hear reason,
Miss Neville % " said Gabrielle, with a rather
comic glance, and Sister Eose laughed as
merrily as a girl.
" Oh yes, my dear ; at last he got a very
clever young man for a partner, and we
went abroad for a month or six weeks, and
then Mr Parker was obliged to go away for
a few months for some family reasons, and
asked Chandos to come here for him. Of
course, the work was very different from
his London practice, to which, indeed, he
really was not fit to return, at least they
all told him he would soon go all back
again. A couple of months here will make
iall right for him. But now, of course, his
staying or leaving here will not depend on
Mr Parker's return."
" He must not stop here on my account,
Miss Neville," said Douglas quickly.
"Hush!" said Gabrielle, touching his
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 225
hand ; and Sister Rose answered, smil-
" My dear Mr Glen-Luna, if you wish to
get the most thorough scolding you ever
had in your life, say that to Chandos him-
self. He has so set his heart upon this
matter, and I never yet knew him put his
hand to the plough and look back ; neither
will a few more months in such lovely
scenery be such a very great hardship."
" Are you fond of the country, Miss
Neville ? " asked Mrs Albany.
The answer was thoroughly character-
" Very fond of it in summer, my dear ;
and then 1 love gardening, and the sweet
fresh air and peaceful quiet. I am quite
different to you two young people, you see,"
she added, smiling, " and then I have fifty
years ; not that I ever was different though,
or that I mean you will change materially
with years. It is a matter of diflference of
VOL. I. p
226 Sister Rose goes to Lttna Park.
" But you don't, then, prefer the country
for headquarters ? " said Douglas.
*' Oh dear, no ; I like best to live in
London, not in the whirl and racket which
you people like, but still I am fond of my
kind, of the society of those I like. I think,
with old John Anderson's wife, that ' God's
master- work is man ; ' though I am not
sufficiently gifted with metaphysical power
to call myself a student of human
Sweet Eose ! No, she simply followed
her instincts and sympathies, and they rarely
misled her, if she could not fathom the
extreme of evil or passion so foreign to
herself, or be capable of fighting out the
world's fiercest battle, like Gabrielle Albany.
Miss Neville rose as she said the last
words, but Glen-Luna exclaimed, —
" You are not going to run away so soon,
dear Miss Neville ? You have no excuse,
as your brother is away. Do stop and give
us the pleasure of your company for the
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 227
rest of the day, and Marston shall drive
The pleading grey eyes and entreating
hand were irresistible, certainly, even with-
out Gabrielle's eager, — "You must stop, Miss
Neville," and Sister Rose yielded by no
" Then come to my room and take off
your things," said her hostess. " Have you
dined yet ? "
" Will you be shocked if I confess that J
dined at two to-day, Mrs Albany % "
*' Oh no ; we sinned in company, for we,
having only our two selves to please, chose
to have dinner when we came in from a
long drive, so we will have a cosy high
" It does not matter what dreadful things
one does in the country, does it, Miss
Neville ? " said Douglas, laying back his
head, " even cosy high tea at — six ? I am
ashamed of you, Mrs Albany, really, for
encouraging such doings."
228 Sister Rose goes to Luna Park.
" You don't like tea then, I suppose % "
"Oh, ma foil Yes I do, though, Miss
Neville, especially from fair hands," re-
turned wicked Douglas, kissing the tips of
his fingers to them as they passed out of
Such a cosy pretty tea it was, too, and
Sister Kose sat beaming like mellowed sun-
light on her two brilliant companions, and
feeling as if she had known them for years.
Perhaps the feeling was reciprocal. Con-
versation never flagged, and then, just after
the equipage had been removed, the post
came in with London letters ; one for
Douglas, and a little packet, both addressed
in Adeline's hand.
He was putting them aside, but Rose
Neville arrested his hand.
" Please do not make a stranger of me,
Mr Glen-Luna, or I shall fly at once."
" That would be too cruel," was the gal-
lant answer. " Eh hien^ since you kindly
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 229
permit me, I will see what tlie little belle
mere has to say of their doings, while madam
shows you that album of photographs."
The letter, which began, " My dearest
boy," contained a very gushing account of
the storm and Jessie's *' terrible danger" and
*' courageous rescue " by a friend of *' dear
Colonel Kosslyn's son Percy, who had called
with him in Park Lane the next day." She
enlarged much on the gifts and charms of
this Mr Clifford Brandon, whom they »11
" liked so much." He was quite an acquisi-
tion to society, etc. The packet contained
some beautiful new photos of herself, Jessie,
and Sir Arthur. " And, dear Douglas, I
was in such a hurry to catch this post that
you might Kave them quickly, that I wrapped
them over the cardboard with a piece of an
old newspaper which was in my desk — had
some faded photos of Jessie in it — so please
excuse such hasty wrapping."
" Your letter seems amusing," said Gab-
rielle, as he laughed once or twice.
230 Sister Rose goes to Luna Park.
*' So it is," said he, deftly tossing the
letter into her lap ; " it's so like la belle
mere. Please read it to Miss Neville. I
suppose poor Jessie really did have a nar-
row escape, and the gentleman who saved
her has earned our gratitude ; but he seems
to have quite fascinated Adeline and my
dear sentimental little sister. Do read
it ; quite a lady's letter. Miss Neville."
" Do you think all ladies write gushingly
and in exaggerated language, then ? " asked
" Oh no ; I am sure you would not, and
I know that a certain Gabrielle Albany does
not," returned Glen-Luna, archly ; " but
you will admit that a great many ladies
do. I really now do not feel at all sure
that my sister was so nearly burnt at the
theatre door as her mother says, nor will
you when you read her letter."
Which while Mrs Albany read aloud, with
its many italics, Douglas undid the photos and
handed them to the ladies for inspection.
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 23 1
" I must write to little Jessie," he said,
" about her escape from that most horrible
enemy — fire ; besides, I must chaff her about
this lady-killer Brandon. She is a rare
little flirt, I am afraid. Miss Neville."
" Ah, well, I suppose most young people
take their turn," said Sister Kose indul-
gently, '' and we should not wish to put
old heads on young shoulders."
He laughed, and shook his head.
" Oh no ! Certainly not." •
His hand, as he spoke, had been half
absently, perhaps a little restlessly, tearing
small bits off the top of the very piece of
old newspaper wrapping alluded to in the
letter ; and Sister Eose, pointing to it,
" Pardon me. Is that anything you
wish to keep ? "
His glance dropped on the print directly.
He had torn away the headline and name \
but his eye fell upon the words, —
" This was a suit for a judicial separation
232 Sister Rose goes to Luna Park,
on the ground of cruelty. The respondent,
when called upon in the usual way, did not
appear ; and the cause was, therefore, pro-
ceeded with. The petitioner stated — "
Carelessly, more because the quick glance
could not fail to take in the summarised
report almost all at once, Douglas read
it down ; so little dreaming whose most
miserable story of wrong upon wrong he
was readinor. How should he, when he
had never heard it ? He threw down the
paper with an almost passionate excla-
" Look there, Miss Neville ! Man was
made a little lower than the angels, we
know ; but here is one of those records
that might almost induce one to believe,
with old Jeremy Taylor, that there are
some beings in this world who are verily
the offspring of devils and witches ! I
should like to have a loaded pistol in my
hand, and such a thing as that within
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 233
Gabrielle, who was placing the new
photos in an album, looked up with some
surprise, asking, —
** What case have you got hold of ? "
While Eose took it up, glanced through
it, and laid the paper down with a look
of incredulous horror and an actual
" It cannot be all true ! It is too hor-
rible — a man to actually gamble away his
own young wife ! Impossible ! " •
Impossible — was it ? Why, then, that
sharp, quick start from the beautiful
woman sitting there ? Why that sudden,
burning flush of shame, and as sudden
ghastly pallor, that left her very lips
bloodless ? The truth flashed upon both
at once, and Douglas started half up with
flashing eyes and passionate words.
'' Mrs Albany, forgive me ! I never
dreamed of this ! Saints in Heaven ! I
would I had the dastard here, to rid
the world of such a reptile ! "
2 34 Sistei^ Rose goes to Luna Park.
"Hush! Oh, hush!" said Gabrielle,
hoarsely. " I never meant — I — I — " The
stern will was struggling fiercely for its
wonted mastery ; but pitying Sister Eose
bent forward wdth outstretched hands.
" My poor heart ! Oh, my poor child ! "
And the proud, suffering woman, broken
down, knelt suddenly at Eose Neville's feet,
and buried her face in her lap ; not weeping,
but quivering from head to foot with an
emotion that would have its own fierce
way for many minutes. Then she said,
brokenly, very low, as if the bitter shame
" Forgive me — both ! It was only that
it brought it all back so, so terribly ! I
would not have had your noble hearts
pained by such a miserable story ! " She
rose up now ; and, putting one hand in
Eose's, stretched the other to Douglas,
whose clasp closed on it instantly like a
" Thank you ! " she said gratefully.
Sister Rose goes to Luna Park. 235
" Will you both, when we are alone, mind
simply calling me by my own name, Ga-
brielle ? The other ; you understand — and
forgive my foolishness ! "
Glen-Luna could not, dared not, speak ;
but only lifted that little hand to his loyal
lips. But Miss Neville drew the younger
woman to her, and gently kissed her brow.
"So be it,- then, dear child ; only you
must call me Sister Kose."
How like balm on troubled waters came
sympathy and love ! Oh ! if it could only
heal that wounded heart, and give back the
fair bloom of unseared youth !
But who can undo the past, or read the
future aright ?
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
YACINTH ? "
Mother and daughter unmis-
takably. There was quite enough indefinite,
not actual, likeness to show a near relation-
ship ; though the question and witty re-
partee that is told of the lovely Countess of
Chepstow and her daughter would hardl}^
have found point here.
*' What would you give for your mother's
beauty, my love ? " asked the countess.
" Exactly as much as your ladyship would
give for my youth," returned the daughter.
But here the daughter had the palm in
Mother and Daughter, 237
both, for Hyacinth Lee, at three-and-
twenty, was still —
In the full flowering of her dainty May,
and gifted with a beauty which her mother,
good-looking as she was, had never had.
She was just now lounging in the laziest of
attitudes on the sofa in her mother's boudoir,
looking the very picture of saucy, idle
contentment. She had a pretty shrewd
idea of what lay behind the portentoiis
" Well, mamma ! "
Lady Constance laid down the " society "
paper which she had been reading, and
folded her hands on her knees.
" My dear, have you seriously reflected
that time does not stand still even for you,
and this is your fourth season ? "
" Quite true, mamma. What then ? "
" Well, child, it is time you thought of
accepting, not refusing, offers."
Hyacinth pursed up her pretty lips.
238 Mother and Daughter.
"Why is it time, dear? Mr Wright
hasn't appeared yet ! "
" I think he has several times," returned
Lady Constance vexedly. " Why did you
refuse Lord Clenham in your first season ?
He was no fortune-hunter, for he had plenty."
"Didn't like his dear little turned-up
nose, mother mine," said the heiress
jauntily. "He was so plain, they would
have called us Beauty and the Beast ! "
" Nonsense, Hyacinth ! You know well
enough that I don't want you to marry
any fortune-hunter just because he is titled,
though I do very much wish to see you
married to some eligible parti of your own
rank. A coronet is what you would grace,
and yet you have refused I don't know how
many ! "
" I didn't care one bit for any of them,
mamma ! I'm of
The eclectic school of thought, which flirts with many ;
Too worldly wise to wed itself to any !
I'm not in love, mamma."
Mother and Daughter. 239
" I sometimes think you are, Hyacinth,"
said Lady Constance, looking straight at
her refractory daughter.
" I know you do, dear," said that young
lady composedly ; " and so I daresay do
others. Men are so conceited, that they
can't conceive a girl refusing their precious
hands, unless some happy swain has been
before them. I don't mean to get married
for either my beauty or money."
" I tell you what I do think. Hyacinth,"
said Lady Constance, provoked out of all
caution, " that you might have had Douglas
Glen-Luna at your feet more than two years
ago if you had chosen."
" Ah, poor Douglas ! " The girl's face
clouded suddenly. Then she said, in her
old manner, " Firstly, I did not choose, you
see, mamma dear, and secondly, he didn't
choose your humble servant. Very bad
taste of him, of course, but still he didn't
" Nonsense, my love ! He admired you
240 Mother and Daughter,
immensely, and used to pay you more
attention — "
''My dear, self-tormenting mamma of
mammas, he never did, or said, or looked, or
cared for me one bit more than he did for
any other pretty girl he liked, and who liked
him. It was only the way of such a care-
less, cavalier sort of fellow ; and we got on
so well, just I believe, because I didn't flirt
seriously or make him feel that I thought
he ' had intentions ' like Miggs. I know,"
she said, breaking into a very amused laugh,
" that Lady Glen-Luna (and perhaps others
too) rather think i am J [yacinth Lee still
for the sake of handsome, winning Douglas
Glen-Luna, whom she imagines no young
woman can help falling in love with, though
he never did himself, favourite as he
" If she does," exclaimed Lady Constance,
veering round with instantly-stirred ma-
ternal indio-nation, *' how dare she think
that my daughter is going to throw herself
Mother and Daughter. 241
at her stepson's head, just because he ad-
mired her ! "
" Oh, you dear old goosey ! and a second
aofo vou scolded me because I had not
thrown myself at his head ! " cried Hyacinth,
laughing heartily, " How do you think this
new star of fashion — Mr Clifford Brandon —
will do ? 0)1 dit, he's awfully rich, and I'm
sure he is a most agreeable fellow, especially
to flirt with, and really, I suppose it is time
I began to seriously look out, or I shall be
left on the old maid's shelf," — this with a
sly, saucy gleam of fun in the blue eyes.
'^ Wasn't Jessie wild when he took me to
have an ice ? "
" I think," said Lady Constance seriously,
" that you had better leave Mr Brandon to
Jessie. He is well introduced, and rich
enough, I daresay, for a Croesus, and I like
him very much." (" Which I don't," mut-
tered Miss Hyacinth, " but he'll do to keep
one's hand in and get some fun.") " But
VOL. I. Q
242 Mother and Daughter,
still he's not the 'parti I should choose for
'' Perhaps," thought " my child," pursing
her lips again, " she may choose for herself
some day." Then aloud, —
" Oh, dear me ! Why in the world can't
the girls be let alone ? Why must they
marry, forsooth I I won't — unless I go
and marry a market gardener, like Dick
Swiveller's adored Sophy AVackles, or some
poor struggling professional creature who — "
" Hyacinth," interposed her mother,
solemnly, " if ever you dream of any such
a mesalliance^ you will never see my face
" Keally, how awful ! " Miss Hyacinth
pulled a face a yard long. " I wonder
which of us would hold out the longest ?
Not you, mamma."
" Don't you try me, daughter mine,"
returned Lady Constance, shaking her head ;
" and don't send Mr Cliiford Brandon to
ask me for your hand."
Mother and Daughter. 243
" Oh dear, no, mamma 1 I should accept
or refuse him myself, honour bright, dear.
I would not think of troubling you unne-
cessarily. Ta-ta, now. I promised Jessie
Glen-Luna I'd ride with her."
And off tripped the refractory young lady
to dress, singing saucily enough, —
" Oh, I should like to marry.
If that I could find
A fine young handsome fellow
Just suited to my mind." ^
Sunny bird of spring time ! Her life had
hitherto been as happy as Gabrielle Albany's
had been dark and sorrowful.
END OF VOL. I.
COLSTON AND SON, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.
UNIVERSITY OF IULINOI8-URBANA
3 0112 045822373